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The Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 1996


This is the original version (as it was originally made).

Procedural requirements for custodial sentences

21.—(1) Subject to paragraph (2), a court shall obtain and consider a pre-sentence report before forming any such opinion as is mentioned in Article 19(2) or 20(2).

(2) Paragraph (1) does not apply if, in the circumstances of the case, the court is of the opinion that it is unnecessary to obtain a pre-sentence report and where the court does not obtain and consider a pre-sentence report, it shall state in open court that it is of that opinion and what the circumstances are.

(3) In the case of an offender under the age of 17 years, except where the offence or any other offence associated with it is punishable only on conviction on indictment, the court shall not form such an opinion as is mentioned in paragraph (2) or (6) unless there exists a previous pre-sentence report obtained in respect of the offender and the court has had regard to the information contained in that report, or, if there is more than one such report, the most recent report.

(4) In forming any such opinion as is mentioned in Article 19(2) or 20(2) a court—

(a)shall take into account all such information about the circumstances of the offence or (as the case may be) of the offence and the offence or offences associated with it (including any aggravating or mitigating factors) as is available to it; and

(b)in the case of any such opinion as is mentioned in sub-paragraph (b) of that paragraph, may take into account any information about the offender which is before it.

(5) No custodial sentence shall be invalidated by the failure of a court to obtain and consider a pre-sentence report before forming an opinion referred to in paragraph (1) but any court on an appeal against such a sentence—

(a)shall, subject to paragraph (6), obtain a pre-sentence report if none was obtained by the court below; and

(b)shall consider any such report obtained by it or by that court.

(6) Paragraph (5)(a) does not apply if the court is of the opinion—

(a)that the court below was justified in forming an opinion that it was unnecessary to obtain a pre-sentence report, or

(b)that, although the court below was not justified in forming that opinion, in the circumstances of the case at the time it is before the court, it report.

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