3. Simple caution

Guideline users should be aware that the Equal Treatment Bench Book covers important aspects of fair treatment and disparity of outcomes for different groups in the criminal justice system. It provides guidance which sentencers are encouraged to take into account wherever applicable, to ensure that there is fairness for all involved in court proceedings.

A simple caution may be issued where there is evidence that the offender has committed an offence, the offender admits to the offence, it is not in the public interest to prosecute and the offender agrees to being given the caution.

When sentencing an offender who has received a simple caution on a previous occasion:

  • the caution is not a previous conviction and, therefore, is not a statutory aggravating factor;
  • however, the caution will form part of the offender’s criminal record and if the caution is recent and is relevant to the current offence it may be considered to be an aggravating factor.