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Armed Forces Act 2006

General sentencing principles
Section 237: Duty to have regard to purposes of sentencing etc

473.Subsection (1) requires a service court or CO to have regard to the purposes of sentencing when dealing with an offender for a service offence. These considerations are the same as those set out in section 142 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (“the 2003 Act”), with an additional factor: the maintenance of discipline.

474.If the offender is under 18, subsection (2) also requires the court or CO to have regard to his welfare. This corresponds to section 44 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.

475.Subsection (3) dispenses with these requirements where the sentence is fixed by law, and where Chapter 6 of Part 8 requires a particular sentence to be imposed.

Section 238: Deciding the seriousness of an offence

476.A court or CO is required to take into account certain matters when determining the seriousness of an offence. These matters are essentially the same as those set out in section 143 of the 2003 Act.

Section 239: Reduction in sentences for guilty pleas

477.This section concerns the sentencing of offenders who have pleaded guilty (or, at a summary hearing, admitted the offence). It reflects section 144 of the 2003 Act.

478.Subsections (1) to (3) require the court or CO to take account of how early in the proceedings the offender indicated his intention to admit the offence, and the circumstances in which he did so.

479.Where the offender pleaded guilty to an offence to which section 225 or 226 applies (third drug trafficking and third domestic burglary offences), subsections (4) and (5) allow the court to reduce by up to 20 per cent the minimum sentence that would otherwise be required.

Section 240: Increase in sentence for racial or religious aggravation

480.Where a court or CO is considering the seriousness of an offence when sentencing an offender, the court or CO must treat the fact that the offence was racially or religiously motivated as an aggravating factor—except where the offence is one of those under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 which are defined in terms of such aggravation, and carry a heavier sentence for that reason. The court or CO must state in open court (or, at a summary hearing, in the offender’s presence) that the offence was so aggravated. This section reflects section 145 of the 2003 Act.

Section 241: Increase in sentence for aggravation related to disability or sexual orientation

481.This section requires a court or CO to treat as an aggravating factor the fact that the offender demonstrated hostility based on the victim’s sexual orientation or disability, or that the offence was motivated by hostility towards persons of a particular sexual orientation or persons with a disability, and to state in open court (or, at a summary hearing, in the offender’s presence) that this is the case. The section reflects section 146 of the 2003 Act.

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