Terrorists will get minimum 14-year jail term: Judges are to be given beefed-up powerls

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Terrorists will get minimum 14-year jail term: Judges are to be given beefed-up powers to hand longer prison sentences to the most serious terrorists under new guidelines

  • Sentencing Council guidance says terror offence is minimum of 14 years in jail
  • Said only in ‘exceptional circumstances’ would such sentences be shorter
  • Guilty plea, which can lead to heavy discount, would not meet the criteria 


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Judges will get beefed-up powers to hand the most serious terrorists longer jail terms under a framework published today.

The Sentencing Council guidance sets out how anyone found guilty of a serious terror offence must be handed a minimum of 14 years, while also serving an extended period on licence of up to 25 years after their release.

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The council, which draws up formal guidelines which must be followed by the judiciary, said only in ‘exceptional circumstances’ would such sentences be shorter. A guilty plea, which can lead to a heavy discount, would not meet the criteria, it said.

Today’s guidance sets out how judges will implement a stiffer sentencing regime created by the Counter- Terrorism and Sentencing Act, which gained Royal Assent earlier this year.

The Sentencing Council guidance sets out how anyone found guilty of a serious terror offence must be handed a minimum of 14 years, while also serving an extended period on licence of up to 25 years after their release (file image)

The Sentencing Council guidance sets out how anyone found guilty of a serious terror offence must be handed a minimum of 14 years, while also serving an extended period on licence of up to 25 years after their release (file image)

In April the then justice secretary Robert Buckland said the new law would ‘put terrorists behind bars for longer, protecting the public and helping to keep our streets safe’. 

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25 years on licence after release 

Mrs Justice Maura McGowan, speaking for the Sentencing Council, said: ‘Terrorism offences are serious criminal acts that are constantly evolving.

‘The law is regularly updated in line with the changing nature of the offences, requiring a new approach to sentencing.

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In April the then justice secretary Robert Buckland said the new law would ‘put terrorists behind bars for longer, protecting the public and helping to keep our streets safe’ (file image)

In April the then justice secretary Robert Buckland said the new law would ‘put terrorists behind bars for longer, protecting the public and helping to keep our streets safe’ (file image)

‘The council is proposing revisions to existing sentencing guidelines to reflect the new legislation and ensure that the courts have comprehensive and up-to-date guidance for dealing with these extremely serious cases.’

In another aspect of today’s paper, which is open for consultation until January, judges are told that terrorists snared by undercover operatives will not qualify for significantly lower prison sentences.

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