mandatory minimum sentence

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A minimum sentence, imposed under ss 110 and 111 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000, applied to a person aged 18 years of age or over who is convicted of a third offence of Class A drug trafficking (see controlled drugs) or burglary of a dwelling. The Act lays down a minimum sentence of seven years' and three years' imprisonment, respectively. The court need not impose the minimum term if it is of the opinion that there are specific circumstances which relate to any of the offences or the offender which would make it unjust to do so in all the circumstances. Section 152(3) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 allows the court to give a discount for a guilty plea by reducing the actual sentence passed to 80 per cent of the statutory minimum.

Section 51A of the Firearms Act 1968 (as inserted by s 287, Criminal Justice Act 2003) provides for minimum custodial sentences for certain serious firearms offences committed on or after 22 January 2004. The specified minimum sentences are five years' imprisonment in the case of an offender aged 18 or over and three years' detention (see long‐term detention) for any offender aged at least 16 but under 18 at the time of the offence.

Section 109 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000, which imposed a mandatory life sentence on any offender, aged 18 or over, convicted of a second ‘serious offence’ (including manslaughter, rape, and wounding with intent) was repealed on 4 April 2005 when the provisions dealing with dangerous offenders contained in ch 5 of pt 12 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 came into effect.

Subjects: Law.

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