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Criminal Justice Act 2003

Section 143: Determining the seriousness of an offence

446.This section sets out certain principles the court must follow when determining the seriousness of an offence. The court must consider the offender’s culpability in committing the offence and any harm which the offence caused, was intended to cause or might foreseeably have caused. Any previous convictions, where they are recent and relevant, should be regarded as an aggravating factor which should increase the severity of the sentence. A previous conviction is defined by subsection (4) to mean a previous conviction by a court in the United Kingdom or a finding of guilt in service disciplinary proceedings. The term “service disciplinary proceedings” is defined in section 305(1). This is a strengthening of the existing principle in section 151(1) of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000. Subsection (3) re-enacts section 151(2) of that Act and provides that the fact that an offence was committed while the offender was on bail should also be regarded as an aggravating factor.

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