20.05.2020

The Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill (2019-2021) comes before Parliament

The Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill entered Parliament today (20 May 2020). The Bill is intended to bolster the terrorism response in England and Wales and build upon the Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Act 2020 that was passed in February.

Key measures of the Bill include:

  • A new ‘Serious Terrorism Sentence’ to include a minimum 14-year sentence, no early release and a licence period of up to 25 years.
  • Increasing the maximum penalty from 10 to 14 years for a number of terror offences.
  • The preclusion offenders who receive Extended Determinate Sentences from release prior to serving the full custodial term.
  • Ensuring a minimum of 12 months is spent on licence for all terror offenders as well as requiring offenders to take polygraph tests.
  • Increasing the list of offences that can be classed as terror related.
  • Boosting the monitoring and disruption tools available to the security services and counter-terrorism police.

[Full GOV.UK press release here.]

19.05.2020

Introduction of the Alcohol Abstinence Monitoring Requirement

The Alcohol Abstinence Monitoring Requirement (AAMR) comes into force by virtue of section 76 of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 which comes into force on 19 May 2020 (SI 2020/478).  Section 76 inserted a new section 212A into the Criminal Justice Act 2003, allowing the court to impose an AAMR as a requirement of a community order or suspended sentence order. The orders can be made for up to 120 days. The requirement comes into force nationwide following a period of piloting in certain local justice areas over the past few years.

AAMR orders are intended to reduce alcohol fuelled offending by monitoring alcohol abstinence through an electronic tag, which measures the proportion of alcohol in sweat. For a court to impose an AAMR, certain conditions must be met:

  • The consumption of alcohol by the offender is an element of the offence or the court is satisfied that the consumption of alcohol by the offender was a factor that contributed to the commission of the offence or an associated offence;
  • The offender is not dependent on alcohol;
  • The court does not include an alcohol treatment requirement in the order; and
  • Monitoring is available in the local justice area.

The Ministry of Justice plans to start a national roll out of the AAMR from winter 2020.

[Full GOV.UK press release here]