The attorney general has reaffirmed the government’s plans to extend the review of ‘unduly lenient’ sentences, with stalking one of the crimes that could be considered in any extension.
Responding to questions in parliament, Jeremy Wright confirmed the government’s manifesto pledge to extend the scheme and said a number of offences were ‘surprisingly’ not included at the moment.
Currently murder, rape, robbery and racial or religious crime sentences can be reviewed as well as some cases relating to fraud and drug offences, plus some cases involving child cruelty and sexual offences.
‘We need to look carefully at the whole range of criminal offences to decide what should be inside and what should be outside the scheme,’ Wright said.
He added that a call to extend the scheme to include stalking, made by Conservative MP Mike Wood, was ‘a good case for the types of offences we might consider including in the future’.
However, he stopped short of calls to extend the scheme to include all offences.
Wright said he was in favour of ‘drawing the line between cases within the scheme and those outside in a logical and easily understandable place’.
‘I would also say that it is important to bear it in mind that, even with an extended version of the scheme, we are talking about a very small minority of cases where judges err in this way,’ he added.
Earlier this year, the Gazette reported that 102 cases were extended under the scheme.
The AG’s office received 713 requests during the year, an increase of 108% from 2010 when it had 342 requests.