Sentencing Process - Step four

Step 4: Determine the headline sentence

Having completed steps 1, 2, and 3, the court should select the headline sentence. This is the sentence which is appropriate for the offence after consideration of all of the matters contained in steps 1-3 of this guideline, but before any adjustment as a result of steps 5-7 of this guideline.

When determining the headline sentence the court should have regard to the Council’s guideline ‘Principles and purposes of sentencing’, in particular to the purpose or purposes the sentence is intended to achieve. The purposes of a sentence may include, in no order of priority: protection of the public; punishment; rehabilitation of offenders; giving the offender the opportunity to make amends; and expressing disapproval of offending behaviour. The court should also have regard to any statutory provisions relating to the specific offence for which the offender is being sentenced.

Step 5: Take into account a plea of guilty