Life Sentences II (discretionary)

Life Sentences II (discretionary)

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Although a life sentence is mandatory for murder, there are various other offences for which a life sentence can be passed. These tend to be the more serious offences – manslaughter, wounding with the intention of causing really serious harm, rape, robbery etc.

A life sentence would only be passed for an offence if the criteria for dangerousness is met and the Court is of the view that because of the nature of the offence or offences, a sentence of life imprisonment should be imposed.

In practice, given the availability of IPP, discretionary life sentences should be imposed only rarely (Kehoe [2008] EWCA Crim 819) and only where the offence is ‘particularly high’ or the culpability of the offender is ‘particularly grave’.

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Lyndon is the General Editor of Current Sentencing Practice and the Criminal Appeal Reports (Sentencing)

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