A Gentle Reminder

12 November 2020

On 23rd March 2020 the world as we knew it changed beyond recognition. However, we began to adapt to our new world quickly. Hearings in the Crown Courts began to be conducted remotely and trials have begun again albeit slowly.

However, on the 1st April 2020 one change came about quietly. The Release of Prisoners (Alteration of Relevant Proportion of Sentence) Order 2019. It is worth reminding ourselves about it.

The change it brings about is a significant one in that it modifies s237(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 in respect of certain sentences of imprisonment. The upshot of it is that from 1st April 2020 anyone aged over 18 sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 7 years or more for a relevant violent or sexual offence will serve two-thirds of the sentence before being released from custody on licence as opposed to half.

A relevant violent or sexual offence is defined as one found within Part 1 or Part 2 of Schedule 15 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

It will be essential to bear this change in mind when advising clients charged with such offences because the difference between the time served in custody will be stark. It is also important to be aware that it applies to individual sentences.

Graeme Logan

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