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20 October 2021

The Sentencing Council has published a consultation on revised sentencing guidelines for four terrorism offences in England and Wales following changes brought in by the Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Act 2021.

The Council is asking judges, magistrates and others interested in the criminal justice system for their views on the proposed changes to the sentencing guidelines, which apply to adult offenders. The consultation runs from 20 October 2021 to 11 January 2022.

The consultation proposes changes to the guidelines below, to bring them in line with the new legislation:

Proposed changes to the Preparation of terrorist acts and Explosive substances (terrorism only) guidelines include:

  • new guidance for judges sentencing offenders who meet the criteria for a ‘serious terrorism sentence’. This is a new type of sentence that carries a minimum penalty of 14 years’ custody unless exceptional circumstances apply;
  • new guidance and principles for judges to follow when considering whether there may be exceptional circumstances that justify a departure from that sentence;
  • additional guidance to assist judges sentencing cases that include the involvement of law enforcement authorities through surveillance or infiltration.

The Council is also proposing changes to the guidelines for sentencing the offences of membership of or support for a proscribed organisation, which include increased sentence levels of up to 13 years to reflect the new, higher statutory maximum sentences provided for under the 2021 Act.