Ian Austin – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Attorney General

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Ian Austin on 2016-03-01.

To ask the Attorney General, if he will take steps to ensure that at the point of sentencing all available information on previous offences committed by the person to be sentenced is made available to the court.

Robert Buckland

It is vital that all relevant available information on previous convictions and sentences (antecedents) is made available to the court that passes sentence. This allows the court to pass a sentence commensurate with the seriousness of the offence taking account the offender’s previous convictions. There are already procedures in place to ensure this

The Crown Prosecution Service, or other prosecuting authority in the case, obtains relevant antecedents and previous convictions from the police so that it is available for service on the court, with further copies being served on the defence and Probation Services. It is the responsibility of the prosecution advocate to ensure that the information required is made available to the court at any sentencing hearing.

The Criminal Practice Directions [2013] EWCA Crim 1631 prescribe minimum standards for the provision of antecedent information in the magistrates’ and Crown Court. There is an additional requirement in the Crown Court for brief details of convictions likely to be of interest to the court to be made available prior to sentence being imposed.