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Volume 631: debated on Thursday 16 November 2017

3. What recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the unduly lenient sentence scheme. (901867)

The number of sentences considered by the Attorney General and me has more than doubled since 2010, from 342 to 837 requests last year. We took 190 of those cases to the Court of Appeal in 2016, and the Court agreed to increase the sentences of 141 offenders.

Controlling behaviour is mentioned in my constituency surgeries and the new law in this area is welcomed. Constituents have also welcomed the Court of Appeal’s increase of the sentence imposed on an offender engaged in serious incidents of violence and controlling behaviour against his partner. The offender is now spending an extra three years in prison, following the Attorney General’s referral of the case through the unduly lenient sentence scheme. Will my hon. and learned Friend please outline what steps he is continuing to take to increase public awareness of the unduly lenient sentence scheme?

Indeed. We use every type of media, including social media, to raise awareness. We also use local radio interviews and I personally conduct a number of cases in the Court of Appeal on behalf of the Government. The results show an increase in the number of referrals.

A number of my constituents are concerned at what they see as unduly lenient sentences handed down to some people who have been convicted of causing death by dangerous driving. Will my hon. and learned Friend confirm how many such sentences have been reviewed and increased?

The offences of causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving under the influence of drink and drugs are in the regime, and since the beginning of 2015 eight cases of that nature have been referred to the Court of Appeal, five sentences have been increased and one is currently pending, even today.