The Sentencing Council has published two sentencing guidelines for offenders convicted of perverting the course of justice and witness intimidation offences in England and Wales for consultation (external link, opens in a new tab).
The Council is seeking views on the draft guidelines from judges, magistrates, professionals across the criminal justice system and others with an interest in this area. The consultation runs from 30 March 2022 to 22 June 2022.
The draft guidelines cover two offences: Perverting the course of justice contrary to common law; and Witness intimidation under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.
The guidelines will ensure a consistent approach is taken to sentencing these two offences and will make the sentencing process more transparent and easier to understand for victims, witnesses, defendants and the public.
Currently, there are no guidelines for perverting the course of justice offences, which range from giving false information to police officers at a traffic stop to avoid prosecution, to fabricating evidence designed to incriminate an innocent person.
There is limited guidance in the magistrates’ courts for witness intimidation offences which include pressuring witnesses to withdraw allegations or witness statements, or not to give evidence in court.