Sentencing guidelines seek fairer way

// 29 November 2005

New guidelines have finally been issued on sentencing of women and men convicted of the manslaughter of their partners. The advice to judges published by the new lord chief justice, Lord Philips, could go some way to correct the current situation, where women who kill their partners after years of abuse often receive lengthy prison sentences when men who kill because they are ‘provoked’ by infidelity are given light sentences.

As The Guardian reports, the new guidance for judges reads:

“Manslaughter under provocation should always receive a custodial sentence, other than in most exceptional cases. A high degree of provocation should lead to sentence of up to four years. Where there is low provocation the SGC recommends 10 years to life. There may be a higher sentence if offender has attempted to conceal evidence or committed the act in front of a family member; or a lower sentence if the offender acted to protect another, was at risk, or had previously experienced abuse or domestic violence.”

Of course, given the current state of affairs, it was not this decision but another that garnered headlines today. The lord chief justice has also ruled that young muggers will not automatically receive jail sentences.

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