Sentences for those convicted of supporting extremist organisations or encouraging terror acts could be increased under government plans to extend the Unduly Lenient Scheme.
The scheme allows crime victims and the public to query sentences on the most serious crimes. The Ministry of Justice announced today tht the scheme is to be extended to 19 offences including failing to disclose information about a terrorist attack, attending a terrorist training camp and disseminating terrorist publications.
Justice minister Dominic Raab said: 'We want the most robust sentences for any terrorist crimes and for victims to have every opportunity to see justice delivered. Our action will reinforce our focus on deterring people who help radicalise terrorists, and punishing those who wilfully turn a blind eye to terrorist activity.'
The scheme allows the Attorney General's Office (AGO) to review sentences given by the Crown court if they are asked to. A request must be sent to the AGO within 28 days of the sentencing. Once the case has been reviewed, the AGO may send it to the Court of Appeal. The court can decide whether the sentence should stay the same or is unreasonably low, or refuse to hear the case.
In 2015, the attorney general referred 136 cases to the Court of Appeal. The court increased 102 offenders' sentences. However, the Ministry of Justice, in today's announcement, stressed that the figure represents a small proportion of the 80,000 Crown court cases heard every year, 'and shows that the judiciary get the vast majority of decisions right'.
Attorney general Jeremy Wright said widening the scheme 'is a welcome first step to extending it even further'. In 2016 Wright stopped short of calls to extend the scheme to include all offences.