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Illegal gas workers beware – New sentencing guidelines proposed

January 15, 2015 featured image

Illegal gas workers beware – New sentencing guidelines are being proposed meaning that you can have a say on what the appropriate punishment for their crimes should be.

It seems like every week there is a new horror story regarding illegal installers and rogue traders. With inconsistent sentencing often occurring across similar crimes, it leads to an angry response from the trades and the industries it affects, as well as the general public.

Good news though, the Sentencing Council is consulting on new draft guidelines for sentencing health & safety, corporate manslaughter and food safety offences – and you can get involved.

At 120 pages long the consultation document is a long read. Not everything will be relevant to you, but you are being urged to express your opinions on the areas you feel are most important.

The Sentencing Council is an independent body responsible for developing sentencing guidelines for courts to use when passing a sentence. Its aim is to ensure that all sentences are proportionate to the offence committed and in relation to other offences.

Because health and safety offences occur relatively infrequently, judges can be unfamiliar with them which leads to inconsistency when sentencing. Although there is some guidance available in the Magistrates Court Sentencing Guidelines, the council decided that further guidance would help address the inconsistencies which do occur.

It is keen to seek out as many views as possible from people and organisations. It particularly wants views about:

  • The scope of each guideline
  • The overall approach proposed to sentencing organisations and individuals for these offences
  • Factors that make these offences more or less serious
  • The principles of sentencing
  • Sentences themselves
  • Anything else you think should be considered.

Once the consultation is over a final guideline will be published and used by all adult courts.

The review of guidelines is also taking place in part due to concerns that some sentences imposed for some of the offences covered, have been too low. This is particularly true with large organisations being convicted for the most serious health and safety and food safety offences.

The Council is therefore proposing an increase in sentence levels in such situations. This will ensure sentences that are proportionate reflect the seriousness of the crime as well as taking into account the financial circumstances of the offender.

Sentencing Council member Michael Caplan QC said:


“We want to ensure that these crimes don’t pay. They can have extremely serious consequences and businesses that put people at risk by flouting their responsibilities are undercutting those that maintain proper standards and do their best to keep people safe.


“Our proposals will help ensure a consistent approach to sentencing, allowing fair and proportionate sentences across the board, with some of the most serious offenders facing tougher penalties.


“This is a consultation: we are interested in hearing feedback on our proposals so we can develop sentences which people understand and have confidence in.”


What do you think? Tweet us @logic4training with your opinions.

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