§ DEFERMENT OF SENTENCE
§ Lords Amendment: No. 160, after the words last inserted, insert:
"T. Section 1 of the Powers of Criminal Courts Act 1973 (which gives a court sentencing an offender the power to defer passing sentence on him) shall have effect subject to the following amendments—
(a) in subsection (1), for the words from "to have" to "sentence" there shall be substituted the words "or any other court to which it falls to deal with him to have regard, in dealing with him";
(b) the words ", subject to subsection (8A) below," shall be inserted after the word "and" in subsection (2);
(c) the words "deal with" shall be substituted—
- (i)for the words "pass sentence on" in subsection (4);
- (ii)for the words "pass sentence on" in subsection (4A); and
- (iii)for the word "sentence" in the second place where it occurs in subsection (5); and
(d) the following subsections shall be substituted for subsection (8)—
"(8) The power of a court under this section to deal with an offender in a case where the passing of sentence has been deferred thereunder—
(a) includes power to deal with him in any way in which the court which deferred passing sentence could have dealt with him; and
(b)without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, in the case of a magistrates' court, includes the power conferred by section 37 or 38 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 to commit him to the Crown Court for sentence.
(8A) Where, in a case where the passing of sentence on an offender in respect of one or more offences has been deferred under this section, a magistrates' court deals with him by committing him to the Crown Court under section 37 or 38 of the Act of 1980, the power of the Crown Court to deal with him includes the same power to defer passing sentence on him as if he had just been convicted of the offence or offences on indictment before the court ." ."
§ Mr. Mayhew
The new clause was introduced by the Government in another place in fulfilment of an undertaking which I gave on Report in response to an amendment which had the support of the parliamentary all-party penal affairs group.
The new clause removes the present restriction in section 1(8) of the Powers of Criminal Courts Act 1973 on the power of magistrates to commit an offender to the Crown court for sentence following a period of deferment. This provision was inserted into the Act by means of schedule 12 to the Criminal Law Act 1977 following a decision by the Court of Appeal in the case of R v Gilby. It has been argued that the restriction inhibits magistrates courts from ordering a period of deferment in cases where the eventual outcome might be a non-custodial sentence, but where, if the offender did not respond to deferment, the right course might be to commit to the Crown court for sentence, thus leading to a potentially unnecessary use of custody by the magistrates at the first hearing. The effect of this new clause is to amend the statutory provision for the deferment power to give magistrates the power to commit to the Crown court for sentence in these circumstances. Amendment No. 283 simply repeals the now redundant provision in schedule 12 of the Criminal Law Act 1977. I commend the amendments to the House.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Lords amendment No. 161 agreed to.