Custodial sentences

Restrictions on imposing custodial sentences

19.—(1) This Article applies where a person is convicted of an offence punishable with a custodial sentence other than one fixed by law.

(2) Subject to paragraph (3), the court shall not pass a custodial sentence on the offender unless it is of the opinion—

(a)that the offence, or the combination of the offence and one or more offences associated with it, was so serious that only such a sentence can be justified for the offence; or

(b)where the offence is a violent or sexual offence, that only such a sentence would be adequate to protect the public from serious harm from him.

(3) Nothing in paragraph (2) shall prevent the court from passing a custodial sentence on the offender if he refuses to give his consent to a community sentence which is proposed by the court and requires that consent.

(4) Where a court passes a custodial sentence, it shall—

(a)in a case not falling within paragraph (3), state in open court that it is of the opinion that either or both of sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) of paragraph (2) apply and why it is of that opinion; and

(b)in any case, explain to the offender in open court and in ordinary language why it is passing a custodial sentence on him.

(5) A magistrates' court shall cause a reason stated by it under paragraph (4) to be specified in the warrant of commitment and to be entered in the Order Book.