Clause 10 provides for the court to apply a reduction to the custodial term for a serious terrorist sentence in England and Wales from the 14-year minimum in cases where the offender assists the prosecution. It does so by inserting a new subsection into section 74 of the sentencing code. The subsection notes that nothing in the STS sentencing provisions affects the court’s ability or power to take into account the extent and nature of any assistance given to the prosecution.
In keeping with the approach to all other sentences, including other minimum sentences and mandatory life sentences, there is no maximum reduction rate in relation to the flexibility that I have just described. While we are determined to ensure that serious terrorists receive the appropriate penalties for their offending, it is also important to ensure that an incentive remains for guilty offenders to assist the prosecution with other cases it may be pursuing.
This is a well-established process within the sentencing procedure across the whole United Kingdom. It can, and indeed often does, play a pivotal role in helping our prosecutors and the police to secure guilty verdicts in other, often more significant, related cases where the defendants may be a higher risk to the public than those in the case under direct consideration. We think it appropriate to continue that judicial discretion in cases where defendants assist the prosecution and where that assistance may help to convict other, even more dangerous people.