Sentence discounting is the term commonly given to the practice of reducing a sentence when an accused pleads guilty. In Scotland, the court is required by law to consider applying a reduction in these circumstances.
A literature review by Dr Jay Gormley, Dr Rachel McPherson and Professor Cyrus Tata of the Centre for Law, Crime & Justice, The Law School, University of Strathclyde, examines how sentence discounting, works both in Scotland and in other jurisdictions around the world.
Among other things, the review considers the available evidence on the underlying rationale for sentence discounting (a feature common to most jurisdictions), the level of guidance available to sentencers, and the effects of discounting on public confidence.
In particular, the authors note evidence pointing to a lack of public support for discounting which might be improved by improving public information on sentencing practice. The review suggests that there is a need for higher quality information to be made available so as to inform understanding of court practice in this area, the factors that influence plea decisions and the specific effects of sentence discounting on plea decisions
Dr Antonio Cardesa-Salzmann and Donald Campbell at the University of Strathclyde conducted a review to summarise existing academic, legal and statistical work on the sentencing of environmental and wildlife offences.
The review highlights the long history of the roots of both types of offence in Scottish criminal law with the main aim of criminalising activity being to prevent harm (rather than to punish). It discusses the tensions arising from the fact that some level of harmful activity is generally accepted by society - licensed hunting, for example - and activity that has been made illegal.
It notes a perception that penalties imposed in England and Wales for environmental offences are higher than those given in Scotland but also highlights recent Scottish cases with significant penalties, including a civil case attracting the highest fine in the UK to date The authors suggest that although it is difficult to identify trends in the sentencing of these offences because of the low numbers of cases (the Scottish jurisdiction is small and there is a resultant lack of statistical data) there may be a lack of consistency which clear guidance could address.
Perceptions of sentencing for causing death by driving (Coming Soon)
Perceptions of sentencing of sexual offences (Coming Soon)
Attitudes of young people to the draft guideline on sentencing young people (coming soon)
Sexual offences involving rape literature review (coming soon)
Sexual offences involving sexual assault literature review (coming soon)