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Football Hooligans: Judicial Discretion

Volume 448: debated on Monday 20 February 1984

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether a recent ministerial pronouncement advocating the imposition of more severe penalties on football hooligans means that it is no longer official policy to leave it entirely to the courts to judge what punishment is appropriate for particular offences.

Her Majesty's Government entirely accept that it is for the courts alone to decide the appropriate sentence to impose on individual offenders. I assume that the noble Lord's Question is prompted by press reports following the recent publication of a speech made by the Minister for Sport in May 1983. That speech was intended to express support for the courts' general policy of imposing deterrent penalties on violent football hooligans—a policy recently reaffirmed by the Court of Appeal—not to interfere with the independent exercise of their discretion in dealing with particular cases.