Understanding rape sentencing: Ken Clarke and the 'guilty plea' debate
This week, a proposed consultation on raising credit for a guilty plea to 50% was overshadowed by comments made by the Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clarke, on a radio programme. Asked how such a proposal would affect rape cases, he replied that there were different categories of rape from teen sex to serious rape and ended up apologising for insulting rape victims. He was obviously badly briefed and he got the law wrong. Teen sex is not rape and in this country we do not have categories of rape. There are different sentencing brackets depending on the aggravating and mitigating features of particular offences: a multiple rapist receives a longer sentence than a first-time offender. These are principles the public understand. A sentence should be commensurate with the seriousness of the offence.
In this article, first published on the Halsbury’s Law Exchange blog, Felicity Gerry looks at the furore surrounding Ken Clarke’s comments on rape sentencing
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