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Statutory Minimum Sentences Public Consultation watch

  • View Poll Results: Should these crimes have a statutory minimum sentence?
    There should be a minimum sentence for murder.
    10
    71.43%
    There should NOT be a minimum sentence for murder.
    4
    28.57%
    There should be a minimum sentence for rape.
    10
    71.43%
    There should NOT be a minimum sentence for rape.
    3
    21.43%
    There should be a minimum sentence for terrorism.
    7
    50.00%
    There should NOT be a minimum sentence for terrorism.
    4
    28.57%
    There should be a minimum sentence for treason.
    6
    42.86%
    There should NOT be a minimum sentence for treason.
    6
    42.86%

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    Hello.

    I am TSR's Model House of Commons's Justice Secretary. We are launching a public consultation on having statutory minimum sentences for serious crimes, ie murder, treason, rape, and terrorism.

    Having a statutory minimum sentence enshires in the laws concerning these 4 crimes means judges will have to deliver a verdict of a certain minimum sentence should a defendant is found guilty of those crimes. At the moment, there is a mandatory life sentence which means the judge has to give a life sentence, but the convicts could be released on parole early. For example, in England and Wales, convicted murderers on average spend 16 years on prison.

    Whilst this will not affect the government in real life, it will directly influence the legislation we introduce on TSR's MHoC.

    Please just take a minute to respond to this poll by selecting 4 options up there, and if you believe there should be a minimum sentence for any of those crimes, please comment the length of the minimum sentence in this thread. If you have an explanation for your choice, you are more than welcome to post it.

    Thank you and may God save The Queen.

    The TSR Model House of Commons (MHoC) is a political game on this forum, with people in different parties, submitting different legislation, motions, and petitions for political debate, and eventually, a vote among appointed members of parliament based on the regular general election results on this forum. The current government is a minority government formed solely by the TSR Conservative and Unionist Party, with a limited supply deal from the TSR Libertarian Party. The TSR Labour Party is currently Her Majesty's Most Loyal Official Opposition. Other parties in opposition include the TSR National Conservative Party (formerly known as the TSR United Kingdom Independence Party - UKIP), as well as the TSR Liberal Democratic Party (formerly known as the TSR Liberal Party). Former parties include the TSR Green Party, the TSR Democratic Party, the TSR Socialist Party, the TSR Centrist Party, the TSR Monster Loony Raving Party etc.

    You may access the sub-forum here.
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    I commend the Secretary for consulting the House on this issue. However, my position is that statutory minimum sentencing is never a good idea, because it removes flexibility in the very small number of cases where these sentences are inappropriate, and doesn't have any significant upside - these minimums could still be implemented in the 99.9% of the time they are appropriate through sentencing guidelines. For instance, one person a few years ago served just 3.6 years for murder. This initially appears to be extremely lenient, but in reality while it met the legal definition of murder the court was convinced beyond all doubt that it was actually dealing with a case of assisted suicide, and that the normal minimum tariff of 15 years would be hugely inappropriate for a person who was acting with grace, empathy and selflessness - clearly a case where she was guilty of murder by the letter rather than the spirit of the law. I could equally imagine, for instance, cases where serious offences are committed by people with such severe mental disabilities that the blame laid more with those who cared for them than the offender themselves.
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    Out of interest, how many years would the minimum sentences be for each of these crimes?
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    (Original post by Mr Daily Mail)
    Out of interest, how many years would the minimum sentences be for each of these crimes?
    This is partly what the TSR Ministry of Justice is consulting on, so your opinion in this area would help inform what is decided on.
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    I would support a minimum sentence for murder, but perhaps in order to accommodate for the points that Saoirse:3 has raised, there could be the opportunity for application to the government for an exceptional circumstance - I believe it is often the Home Secretary that handles such things. I would also support a minimum for rape and there I think no such exceptions would arise.

    As for terrorism and treason, I mentioned in my comments on the Ministerial Report that terrorism and treason have multiple offences fitting into those categories, rendering them umbrella terms if you like. The Champion.m4a, you confirmed that there would be different minimums for the different offences in question falling under those terms, but the poll options don't make this distinction exactly clear. Can you confirm that in voting for, say, "There should be a minimum sentence for treason", this would mean something more like "There should be minimum sentences for treason offences"?
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    (Original post by Mr Daily Mail)
    Out of interest, how many years would the minimum sentences be for each of these crimes?
    Depends on what the electorates think. So please do post the number of years if you have an opinion.
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    (Original post by CatusStarbright)
    I would support a minimum sentence for murder, but perhaps in order to accommodate for the points that Saoirse:3 has raised, there could be the opportunity for application to the government for an exceptional circumstance - I believe it is often the Home Secretary that handles such things. I would also support a minimum for rape and there I think no such exceptions would arise.

    As for terrorism and treason, I mentioned in my comments on the Ministerial Report that terrorism and treason have multiple offences fitting into those categories, rendering them umbrella terms if you like. The Champion.m4a, you confirmed that there would be different minimums for the different offences in question falling under those terms, but the poll options don't make this distinction exactly clear. Can you confirm that in voting for, say, "There should be a minimum sentence for treason", this would mean something more like "There should be minimum sentences for treason offences"?
    Yes. If the poll has too many options, it may be difficult for people to vote on them effectively. If you have specific crimes in mind you are very welcome to mention them with a minimum sentence in your mind.
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    (Original post by CatusStarbright)
    I would support a minimum sentence for murder, but perhaps in order to accommodate for the points that Saoirse:3 has raised, there could be the opportunity for application to the government for an exceptional circumstance - I believe it is often the Home Secretary that handles such things. I would also support a minimum for rape and there I think no such exceptions would arise.

    As for terrorism and treason, I mentioned in my comments on the Ministerial Report that terrorism and treason have multiple offences fitting into those categories, rendering them umbrella terms if you like. The Champion.m4a, you confirmed that there would be different minimums for the different offences in question falling under those terms, but the poll options don't make this distinction exactly clear. Can you confirm that in voting for, say, "There should be a minimum sentence for treason", this would mean something more like "There should be minimum sentences for treason offences"?
    That would be an improvement over outright minimums.However, at that point I think this would really be a solution in search of a problem. I don't really see an issue with the current system of letting courts decide on sentences. There's little indication it's being misused. And it has the advantage of the court having full knowledge of the case, and the time to consider it. I believe we've entirely eliminated the HS's role for this reason. Their involvement also means sentences would potentially have political rather than justice-based motivations. For instance, I think politically it would be very damaging for a HS at the moment to exempt a Muslim terrorist from the minimum sentence, no matter the exact offence or any exceptional circumstances. It'd be time-consuming, bureaucratic and biased with no real upside.
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    (Original post by Saoirse:3)
    That would be an improvement over outright minimums.However, at that point I think this would really be a solution in search of a problem. I don't really see an issue with the current system of letting courts decide on sentences. There's little indication it's being misused. And it has the advantage of the court having full knowledge of the case, and the time to consider it. I believe we've entirely eliminated the HS's role for this reason. Their involvement also means sentences would potentially have political rather than justice-based motivations. For instance, I think politically it would be very damaging for a HS at the moment to exempt a Muslim terrorist from the minimum sentence, no matter the exact offence or any exceptional circumstances. It'd be time-consuming, bureaucratic and biased with no real upside.
    What already exists are sentencing guidelines which directs judges to giving sentences within a particular range. For minimum sentences to work effectively, they'd need to be quite a bit lower than the guidelines, to allow that judicial freedom while making the minimum sentence work.

    Actually when sentencing, political motivations would likely be considered improper purposes, which is a ground for judicial review. I also anticipate that such an exceptional situation would be exactly that: exceptional.
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    (Original post by CatusStarbright)
    What already exists are sentencing guidelines which directs judges to giving sentences within a particular range. For minimum sentences to work effectively, they'd need to be quite a bit lower than the guidelines, to allow that judicial freedom while making the minimum sentence work.

    Actually when sentencing, political motivations would likely be considered improper purposes, which is a ground for judicial review. I also anticipate that such an exceptional situation would be exactly that: exceptional.
    How many years do you think a convicted rapist should serve?
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    (Original post by Saoirse:3)
    That would be an improvement over outright minimums.However, at that point I think this would really be a solution in search of a problem. I don't really see an issue with the current system of letting courts decide on sentences. There's little indication it's being misused. And it has the advantage of the court having full knowledge of the case, and the time to consider it. I believe we've entirely eliminated the HS's role for this reason. Their involvement also means sentences would potentially have political rather than justice-based motivations. For instance, I think politically it would be very damaging for a HS at the moment to exempt a Muslim terrorist from the minimum sentence, no matter the exact offence or any exceptional circumstances. It'd be time-consuming, bureaucratic and biased with no real upside.
    The problem is that the public doesn't always agree with the verdict. To avoid attacks on the judges themselves, this may direct the public's anger towards politicians (in this case, me) who simply didn't legislate a long enough sentence.
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    (Original post by Saoirse:3)
    I commend the Secretary for consulting the House on this issue. However, my position is that statutory minimum sentencing is never a good idea, because it removes flexibility in the very small number of cases where these sentences are inappropriate, and doesn't have any significant upside - these minimums could still be implemented in the 99.9% of the time they are appropriate through sentencing guidelines. For instance, one person a few years ago served just 3.6 years for murder. This initially appears to be extremely lenient, but in reality while it met the legal definition of murder the court was convinced beyond all doubt that it was actually dealing with a case of assisted suicide, and that the normal minimum tariff of 15 years would be hugely inappropriate for a person who was acting with grace, empathy and selflessness - clearly a case where she was guilty of murder by the letter rather than the spirit of the law. I could equally imagine, for instance, cases where serious offences are committed by people with such severe mental disabilities that the blame laid more with those who cared for them than the offender themselves.
    Isn't that a case of assisted suicide should be getting legalized instead of murderers getting more lenient sentences?

    I don't believe the judges should bear the responsibility of filling in the gaps in current law.
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    What happened to kidnap, torture and GBH?

    I'd support minimum sentences for those three, rape and murder. The other two aren't clearly defined enough, and could verge into thought crime so I'd want more specifics if it were to have a minimum, else do case by case.
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    (Original post by The Champion.m4a)
    Isn't that a case of assisted suicide should be getting legalized instead of murderers getting more lenient sentences?

    I don't believe the judges should bear the responsibility of filling in the gaps in current law.
    I would personally support that, but it's largely besides the point. Circumstances can on occasion arise that couldn't possibly have been envisioned when a law was passed. There's no need to give everyone more lenient sentences, but there is a need to make sure that sentences are always proportionate to the crime, including in the very unusual circumstances that are near-impossible to individually legislate for.

    Another that comes to mind is the classic case/moral dilemma of people being stranded at sea. The only way any can possible survive is for one to be consumed by the rest. They agree among themselves to randomly select this individual, and promptly kill and eat them. They're later found, brought to safety, but then convicted of murder. Here, a statutory minimum sentence at, say, 15 years would be in most people's eyes unjust, and under modern law the court could give them a much shorter term. You can't possibly legislate for every weird and wonderful scenario that could ever occur, hence why I don't see the benefit of statutory minimums - we can already set minimum guidelines for all normal cases while leaving flexibility for the distinctly abnormal ones.
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    Will treason still include shagging Kate Middleton if William becomes king? A mandatory minimum sentence seems kind of harsh.
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    (Original post by The Champion.m4a)
    How many years do you think a convicted rapist should serve?
    The sentencing guidelines state 4-19 years as the range, with a minimum starting point of 5 years for the lowest category. I think I would make 5 years the minimum, but then that might mess up the sentencing guidelines a bit.
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    (Original post by CatusStarbright)
    The sentencing guidelines state 4-19 years as the range, with a minimum starting point of 5 years for the lowest category. I think I would make 5 years the minimum, but then that might mess up the sentencing guidelines a bit.
    Well, if there's new minimum sentences, the guidelines will have to be updated accordingly. Thank you for your input.
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    (Original post by Sulfolobus)
    Will treason still include shagging Kate Middleton if William becomes king? A mandatory minimum sentence seems kind of harsh.
    What treason is or is not is not a part of the current consultation.
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    (Original post by ThomH97)
    What happened to kidnap, torture and GBH?

    I'd support minimum sentences for those three, rape and murder. The other two aren't clearly defined enough, and could verge into thought crime so I'd want more specifics if it were to have a minimum, else do case by case.
    At this stage, only these are being consulted on, but you are very welcome to have your views on other crimes as well.

    Would you put a number to those minima?
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    (Original post by The Champion.m4a)
    At this stage, only these are being consulted on, but you are very welcome to have your views on other crimes as well.

    Would you put a number to those minima?
    Probably 20 for murder (and it'd stack consecutively if someone had killed several, none of this kill one get one free concurrent nonsense) and 10 for rape (stacking as well). I feel that a rapist is probably more easy to scare off than a murderer, and rape is not as bad as murder so the extra 10 years would deter someone from killing and disappearing their victim after raping them.
 
 
 
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