As I have mentioned in previous E-newsletters, part of my role as Solicitor General involves me reviewing sentences that are highlighted to me as potentially being so lenient that they amount to a gross error on the part of the sentencing judge.
This process is known as the Unduly Lenient Sentencing Scheme and was established over thirty years ago. You can read about how this scheme works here: https://www.michaelellis.co.uk/news/tough-crime-michael-appeal-unduly-lenient-criminal-cases.
Recently, I referred a case to the Court of Appeal to review the sentence of a man from Rotherham who had stabbed a woman in front of her 6-year-old son. In November 2019, the perpetrator had been sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court to 6 years and 9 months’ imprisonment. The increased sentence is appropriate in this case which involved a mother who had to undergo life-saving surgery and her brave young son who witnessed the attack.
As a result of my referring the case, the Court of Appeal has now increased this to 9 years and 8 months’ imprisonment. You can read about this here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/rotherham-man-who-stabbed-mother-in-front-of-young-son-jailed-for-longer.
Recommending the increase of unduly lenient sentences for the most serious offenders is in my view one of my most important roles. I have sent multiple cases to the Court of Appeal and many have had their sentences increased. Although I usually instruct senior barristers to present the cases I have also attended court myself to present the case personally as the Government’s lawyer and I am due to do so again in the coming weeks.