Debates between Sir Alan Campbell and Sir Mike Penning

There have been 1 exchanges between Sir Alan Campbell and Sir Mike Penning

1 Wed 6th December 2017 Unduly Lenient Sentences
Attorney General
3 interactions (417 words)

Unduly Lenient Sentences

Debate between Sir Alan Campbell and Sir Mike Penning
Wednesday 6th December 2017

(2 years, 8 months ago)

Westminster Hall
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Attorney General
Sir Mike Penning Portrait Sir Mike Penning - Hansard
6 Dec 2017, 4:43 p.m.

I will just say one last thing and then I will give way, as I am conscious of the time. I am absolutely passionate about this issue. I believe that we have the greatest criminal justice system in the world, but it needs to learn from what it is doing wrong. This is one example of that.

Sir Alan Campbell Portrait Mr Campbell - Hansard
6 Dec 2017, 4:44 p.m.

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for giving way and I congratulate him on securing the debate. Does he agree that the 28-day limit is in all probability against the spirit in which it was introduced? Does he agree that a way around that would be that any time limit, be it 28 days or more, should be applicable from the time when any relative or victim becomes aware of the leniency of the sentence given by the court?

Sir Mike Penning Portrait Sir Mike Penning - Hansard
6 Dec 2017, 4:46 p.m.

I completely agree with the hon. Gentleman. The appeal system states that it is not just the victim or their MP who has the right to say that they think there is an anomaly and that something has gone wrong. Anybody can appeal. The only way that they can do that is if the 28-day period starts on the day that the sentence becomes public. That is the only way it can work. We can consider other ways to do that, but I think that is the only way. It should be possible to appeal against all unduly lenient Crown court sentences. I have not seen any evidence of exactly what that would cost. We all understand the issue of cost, but it is important that the justice system is fair.

The 28-day period has to be addressed. There is something fundamentally wrong. There are cases where people have been unwell following the loss of a loved one and have not had the opportunity to appeal in time. The judges have a very limited power and once the 28 days are over, the Attorney General cannot do anything. That has to change.

I will get lots of letters tomorrow morning saying that I should have brought up lots of different subjects. One particular subject I want to raise is cruelty to animals, which is fundamentally wrong. I think that sentencing for cruelty to animals is really wrong and it needs to be addressed. There are human victims of that crime, as well as the animals subjected to cruelty. There are lots of other issues, too. I wanted this debate to concentrate specifically on the victim, and I hope that I have done that.