One of my powers as the Solicitor General for England and Wales is to challenge sentences passed down by Crown Court Judges if I believe them to be ‘unduly lenient’. This is part of the Government’s unduly lenient scheme which you can read more about here: https://www.michaelellis.co.uk/news/tough-crime-michael-appeal-unduly-lenient-criminal-cases.
A sentence is considered to be unduly lenient where a judge has passed a sentence that falls outside the range of sentences which a judge could reasonably consider appropriate. I am able to refer a case to the Court of Appeal when I have reviewed a sentence and consider it to be unduly lenient. This is one of my functions carried out in the public interest which is done independently of my role in Government.
Due to my intervention, several prison sentences have already been increased – for example, the sentence of someone who pushed another person in front of an approaching tube train was substantially increased. You can read about that case here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/drunken-tube-pusher-sees-sentence-increased.
In the last few weeks, I left my busy schedule in the House of Commons for a couple of hours to actually appear in the Court of Appeal personally to represent the Government myself. It is rare for the Solicitor General or Attorney General to personally conduct a case but I am keen to ensure justice for those who commit the most serious offences. My last appearance as a Barrister in court was in Northampton Crown Court in March 2010, just before I was first elected as MP for Northampton North, and so this was my first appearance in court for nearly ten years.
Many of the details of this particular case – due to the sensitivity of the case – cannot be revealed but I can confirm that I was successful in having the sentence for rape increased- in fact it was doubled.