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New sentencing powers to double jail term in the Magistrates' Court welcomed by PCC

Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews today welcomed new sentencing powers that will allow magistrates to jail criminals for up to a year to tackle the court backlog.

Under plans announced by Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, the current maximum prison sentence available to Magistrates’ is to be doubled from six months to a year.

The Government says the move will free up an estimated 2,000 extra days of Crown Court time every year by allowing the more serious cases heard by magistrates including fraud, theft and assault to be sentenced by them too.

This will speed up the justice system and reduce strain on the Crown Courts, allowing them to tackle the backlog of cases which has built up during the pandemic. 

Commenting on the move, Mr Matthews said: “I welcome this announcement and the additional capacity it will create in the Crown Courts to reduce pressure on the system.

“Victims of crime are a top priority and it is imperative they have access to swift and fair justice to support their recovery.

“Like most areas, the East Midlands region has been impacted by a growing backlog of cases, translating into longer waiting times for victims, which is never acceptable. These sentencing changes, alongside the addition of Nightingale Courts, digital hearings and unlimited sitting days, will no doubt help alleviate some of the strain and allow Crown Courts to focus attention on progressing more serious cases, speeding up the whole system.”

As part of its commitment to delivering swifter and more effective justice, the Government has announced investment of £1billion to increase capacity and efficiency across the court estate over the next three years to recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

ENDS

Media enquiries:  Sallie Blair 01283 821012

Posted on Wednesday 19th January 2022
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