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Chief judge backs moves to streamline sentencing

The Lord Chief Justice is planning moves to ensure greater consistency in sentencing by judges in Crown and magistrates’ courts.

Sir Declan Morgan said he wants, “as far as possible”, to ensure that similar crimes receive similar sentences.

He has agreed to a number of proposals made by a working group of Northern Ireland judges who met last year to consider how sentencing guidance was currently provided to the judiciary.

“Our aim is to increase consistency in sentencing as far as that is possible, while recognising that the facts in cases can vary enormously for the same charge,” Sir Declan said.

Under the proposals judges will be asked to prepare written judgments in cases which can be used as guidance by other courts.

A judicial oversight group is also to be established to monitor and consider the provision of guidance for sentencers.

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