The Sentencing Council has today published, in accordance with section 120 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, revised definitive guidelines to be used by the Crown Court and magistrates’ courts in England and Wales when sentencing terrorism offences. This follows two consultations (in 2019 and 2021) and the revised guidelines will come into effect on 1 October 2022.
Eight of the existing nine sentencing guidelines for terrorism offences have been revised, these are:
- Preparation of terrorist acts (Terrorism Act 2006, section 5)
- Explosive substances (terrorism only) (Explosive Substances Act 1883, sections 2 and 3)
- Encouragement of terrorism (Terrorism Act 2006, sections 1 and 2)
- Proscribed organisations – membership (Terrorism Act 2000, section 11)
- Proscribed organisations – support (Terrorism Act 2000, section 12)
- Funding terrorism (Terrorism Act 2000, sections 15 – 18)
- Failure to disclose information about acts of terrorism (Terrorism Act 2000, section 38B)
- Collection of terrorist information (Terrorism Act 2000, section 58)
Changes were made to the guidelines to reflect amendments made to terrorism legislation by the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 and Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Act 2021. Other changes made include providing assistance to judges in in cases that have law enforcement or security services involvement.
As ever, the Council is very grateful to those who responded to the consultations and the helpful suggestions received have resulted in modifications to the original proposals.
The guidelines are available on the Sentencing Council website www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk. Alongside the guidelines, we have also published a response to the consultation and other related documents.