Section 92 – Assistance by offender: review of sentence
198.This section provides that where an offender has been sentenced, following conviction of an offence on indictment, and one of the conditions in subsection (2) applies, a prosecutor may refer the case back to the court for review, if the offender is still serving the sentence and the prosecutor considers it is in the interests of justice to do so. The conditions in subsection (2) are:
that the offender received a discounted sentence on account of having entered into an assistance agreement with the prosecutor but then fails to give assistance in accordance with the agreement;
that the offender received a discounted sentence on account of having entered into an assistance agreement with the prosecutor and then gives or offers to give further assistance in pursuance of another assistance agreement;
that the offender did not receive a discounted sentence but then subsequently enters into an assistance agreement with the prosecutor.
199.Subsection (3) ensures that where a person was convicted of an offence for which the sentence was fixed by law, they must have pleaded guilty if their sentence is to be referred back to court for a review under this section. Subsection (4) provides that the prosecutor may refer a case falling under this section back to the court which passed the sentence or, if the sentence was passed on appeal, that it is referred back to the court of first instance, if the offender is still serving the sentence and the prosecutor thinks that it is in the interests of justice to do so.
200.Subsection (5) provides that a person is still serving a sentence for the purposes of subsection (4)(a) if they have been released from prison early (whether on licence or unconditionally) under Part 1 of the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act 1993. Accordingly, a person could, for example, be recalled to court to face the consequences of reneging on an assistance agreement in circumstances where they have been released on licence into the community. Subsection (15) makes clear that where an offender has entered into an assistance agreement and has been fined, that fine, where it has not been paid in full, may be referred to a court for review if any of the conditions set out in section 92(2) subsequently apply.
201.Subsection (6) provides that, where possible, any case which has been referred back under this section is to be considered by the judge who passed the sentence or, if the sentence was passed on appeal, by the judge who heard the case at first instance.
202.Subsection (7) gives the court a power to substitute a greater sentence where it considers the person has failed to provide the agreed assistance (not exceeding the sentence it could have passed but for the assistance agreement). Where a person has entered into an assistance agreement for the first time or a further assistance agreement, subsection (9) gives the court a power to take that into account and to reduce the individual's sentence accordingly. Subsection (11) gives a right of appeal to the offender (with leave of the High Court) and to the prosecutor in respect of any decision of the court in reviewing the sentence.
203.Subsection (12) requires the court, in passing a lesser sentence under subsection (9) or on appeal under subsection (11), to state that it has done so in consequence of further assistance or assistance given or offered for the first time. Subsection (13) provides that the court need not make such a statement where it does not consider it to be in the public interest, but in those circumstances it must give written notice of the fact that it has passed a lesser sentence on account of the assistance, to the offender and the prosecutor.