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Appeals

Volume 401: debated on Tuesday 18 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) when he last reviewed provision under the Reviews of Sentencing Orders of 1994, 1995 and 2000; when his Department will next review this; and if he will make a statement; [100207]

(2) what representations he has received to extend the range of cases over which the Attorney General has power to refer cases to the Court of Appeal where it appears that sentencing has been unduly lenient; and if he will make a statement; [100209]

(3) what discussions he has had with the Attorney General and the Courts regarding the current provision under Sections 35 and 36 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and the Reviews of Sentencing Orders of 1994, 1995 and 2000 to refer certain types of case to the Court of Appeal to further review sentencing orders to include further offences; and if he will make a statement. [100210]

There is no formal review system in operation for the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme. New requests to extend the Attorney General's powers to refer unduly lenient sentences are considered by my right hon. Friend, the Home Secretary, in consultation with the Attorney General and Lord Chancellor, as and when they are received.The Home Secretary is sympathetically considering a request from the Attorney General (which has the support of the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice) to add certain racially aggravated offences to the scheme. This request followed a specific recommendation in a report of a thematic inspection of casework with an ethnic minority dimension, conducted by Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate.An amendment was tabled during the Committee Stage of the Courts Bill in another place, to add burglary to the scheme, but this was defeated on 18 February.The Home Secretary will continue to consider whether any additional offences should be added, and will liaise fully with the Attorney General, Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice in such deliberations.