Offenders ordered to attend sentencing hearings
Criminals who try to evade the final moment of justice will be ordered into the dock to attend their sentencing – and will face longer behind bars if they refuse to appear.
The reforms announced today (Wednesday 30 August) will create a new power for judges to order an offender to attend their hearings and make it clear – in law – that force can be used to make sure this happens.
Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, Donna Jones, said:
“It is only right that those who commit the most heinous crimes in our communities are forced to face their fate at sentencing hearings.
“For too long criminals have been able to hide away, not facing their victims or hearing the impact their actions have had on the lives of those they have harmed. We hope that these new powers will give greater closure to victims.
“These landmark reforms send a robust message that those who commit such horrific crimes will be forced to face the full consequences of their actions.”
Deputy Criminal Justice Lead for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside, Emily Spurrell said:
“I welcome today’s news that the Government have committed to enshrine the Face the Family campaign in law.
“This announcement is testament to the tireless campaigning of Cheryl Korbel and other bereaved families who have battled to improve the system for others.
“Victims and families show incredible strength, often reliving their experiences in open court, and for many seeing the perpetrator sentenced is a crucial step in their process of gaining some closure. Despicable individuals like Thomas Cashman should be made to listen to those whose lives they have shattered and face up to the devastating consequences of their abhorrent actions.
“This isn’t a huge change in the law, but it is an important step in helping to shift the power balance, putting the needs of victims before offenders and ensuring those have suffered have their voices heard.”