Terrorism Guideline Consultation

Closes 3 Dec 2019

Opened 22 Oct 2019

Overview

Why Terrorism Again?

The Sentencing Council issued a package of definitive terrorism guidelines in March 2018 which came into effect on 27 April 2018. At the time of developing the current guidelines, the Council was aware that the Government was contemplating changes to terrorism legislation which could impact on sentencing guidelines. At the time of publication, the Government was yet to announce the introduction of a Bill which might take forward the changes and for that reason the Council decided to go ahead and publish the current guidelines to ensure they could be used by sentencers in court as soon as possible.

The Council made clear then that if, in the future, the legislation did change in a way that impacts the guideline, the Council would endeavour to respond in a timely manner.

On 12 February 2019 the Counter Terrorism and Border Security Act received Royal Assent. This Act made significant changes to the terrorism legislation affecting the guidelines produced. The Council has, therefore, revised the relevant guidelines and seeks consultees' views on the proposed changes. The main changes include:

  • Amendment to the culpability factors in the Proscribed Organisations – Support (section 12 Terrorism Act 2000) guideline to provide for offenders convicted of the new section 12(1A) offence of expressing supportive views for a proscribed organisation, reckless as to whether others will be encouraged to support it;
  • Amendment to the culpability factors in the Collection of Terrorist Information (section 58 Terrorism Act 2000) guideline to provide for offenders convicted of the new offence of viewing/streaming terrorist information over the internet;
  • Changes to the sentencing tables in the Encouragement of Terrorism (ss1 and 2 Terrorism Act 2006); Failure to Disclose Information About Acts of Terrorism (s38B Terrorism Act 2000), and Collection of Terrorist Information (s58 Terrorism Act 2000) guidelines to reflect the changes to the statutory maximum sentences;
  • Additional guidance added to the Encouragement of Terrorism (sections 1 and 2 Terrorism Act 2006); Proscribed Organisations – Membership (section 11 Terrorism Act 2000); Proscribed Organisations – Support (section 12 Terrorism Act 2000); and Collection of Terrorist Information (section 58 Terrorism Act 2000) guidelines as these offences now fall within scope for sentences for offenders of particular concern;
  • Additional guidance added to the Preparation of Terrorist Act (s5 Terrorism Act 2006); Encouragement of Terrorism (sections 1 and 2 Terrorism Act 2006); Proscribed Organisations – Support (section 12 Terrorism Act 2000); and Collection of Terrorist Information (section 58 Terrorism Act 2000) guidelines as the new legislation made these ‘specified terrorism offences’ for which extended determinate sentences would apply.

In addition, the Council has chosen to make some minor changes to the Funding guideline to assist Judges to sentence cases where either the offender had knowledge that the money or property would or may be used for terrorism, or where the offender did not know or suspect that the money would or may be used for terrorism. This is an issue that has been raised in case law recently and so the Council has chosen to take this opportunity to assist sentencers by providing greater guidance.

During the development of the current guidelines the Council consulted widely on the broader principles of terrorism offences. The proposed revisions do not make changes to the approach taken in the current guidelines.

Respond to consultation

Audiences

  • Citizens
  • Legal professionals
  • Judiciary
  • Legal professional bodies
  • Academics

Interests

  • Courts
  • Criminal justice
  • Law