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Sentencing in rape cases

The current SAP guidelines for sentencing in rape cases are sensible in the main, but gaps do exist, argues Paul Tain

16 August 2002

The Government intends to create a Sentencing Guideline Council chaired by the Lord Chief Justice to tackle unacceptable sentencing variation (Justice For All Cm 5563). It will probably do so in the context of changing the fundamental bases upon which sentencing has been founded since 1991. The new council will be different from the Sentencing Advisory Panel (SAP) but it could well take on board some of the methodologies used by that organisation. The SAP appears to incorporate both the intellectual consideration of the place of various sentences for particular offences and hard-nosed practicality in its consideration of public opinion and the views of interest groups. It starts from the point of view of any present Court of Appeal guideline and develops a comprehensive approach to the range of sentencing which should be used for the particular offence, with some reference to the sentencing relationship between it and other offences. In the context of rape, the SAP has started from t...

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