Young people focus in sentencing council guidelines

Courtroom Image copyright Scottish Court Service

Judges and sheriffs are to be given new guidelines in an attempt to ensure consistency in the sentences they pass.

The Scottish Sentencing Council will look at crimes committed by young people, death by driving and environmental and wildlife offences.

It will also begin research into the sentencing of sexual offences.

The council was established a year ago in an attempt to improve public confidence in the sentences passed by the courts.

Lord Justice Clerk, Lady Dorrian, who chairs the council, said: "The topics we have selected to begin preparing guidelines on are of importance to local communities and families across Scotland.

"We will take the time to properly research each area and consult widely, not only with our justice partners, but with relevant groups and the wider public.

"We welcome input from those interested and encourage you to have your say in helping to shape Scotland's first sentencing guidelines."

'Huge impact'

The council will now consider how young people should be sentenced and begin work on its first offence-specific topics.

In a statement, the council said: "Death by driving is a serious matter that affects people across Scotland. The circumstances are often complicated and this can lead to extremely difficult sentencing decisions. Fatalities have a huge impact on families and local communities.

"Environmental and wildlife issues have particular significance in Scotland relevant to tourism, rural industry and the local economy. Guidelines on environmental offences will be particularly helpful in setting down an approach to how corporations should be sentenced."

The council will also look ahead to considering theft, property offences and domestic abuse from 2018-2021.

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