Terrorism guidelines to be revised following legislation changes

The Sentencing Council has launched a public consultation on revisions to some of the current sentencing guidelines for terrorism offences in England and Wales. The proposed revisions follow significant changes to terrorism legislation brought in by the new Counter Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019.

The revised guidelines cover the following offences:

The Council is inviting views from judges, magistrates and the public on the proposed changes. The consultation runs for six weeks from 22 October to 3 December 2019.

The main legislative changes impacting the guidelines include increases to the statutory maximum sentences for some offences, and an expansion of some offences. As a result of the increases to statutory maximum sentences, the Council is proposing consequential increases for the most serious examples of offending.

The main revisions include:

  • Increased sentencing levels for the Encouragement of Terrorism, Failure to Disclose Information about Acts of Terrorism and Collection of Terrorist Information guidelines, to reflect the new increased statutory maximum sentences;
  • Amendment of the culpability factors in:
    • the Proscribed Organisations – Support offence guideline, to provide for offenders convicted of the new offence of expressing supportive views for a proscribed organisation, reckless as to whether others will be encouraged to support it; and
    • the Collection of Terrorist Information guideline, to provide for offenders convicted of the new offence of viewing or streaming terrorist information over the internet.

The revised guidelines apply to offenders aged 18 years and above and will come into effect in early 2020.