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Consultation over Development of Sentencing Guidelines

The Scottish Sentencing Council has launched a consultation exercise to seek the views of the public over the development of Scotland’s first sentencing guideline. The guideline sets out the principles and purposes of sentencing for all offences and will influence how offenders are sentenced in Scotland’s courts. Although some relevant guidance already exists in the form of court decisions in particular cases, this will be the first time that a comprehensive definition is provided for the principles underlying sentencing decisions and the purposes they seek to achieve. Principles of SentencingThe draft guideline sets out an overarching principle of ‘fairness and proportionality’ and a series of supporting principles which contribute to this, including. similar offences should be treated in a similar manner,sentences should be no more severe than necessary,reasons for sentencing decisions should be stated clearly and openly, andpeople should be treated equally, without discrimination. Purposes of SentencingThe draft guideline also outlines the purposes sentencing may seek to achieve, for example:punishment reduction of crime (including through rehabilitation)reflecting society’s disapprovalgiving offenders an opportunity to make amends. The draft guideline was designed to assist judges in court and to help the public better understand how sentences are decided. The consultation asks people to comment both on the principles and purposes identified, and on how easy the guideline is to understand. “The fundamental principles and purposes of sentencing have never before been expressly defined in Scotland,” explained Lady Dorrian, the Lord Justice Clerk and Chair of the Council. “We believe that creating this guideline will have significant benefits both to the public and the courts, increasing consistency and transparency in sentencing.” The Council is also currently developing general guidelines relating to the sentencing process - including the steps taken by judges when deciding sentences and the different factors they take into account – and on the sentencing of young people. In addition, it is undertaking preparatory work in relation to offence specific guidelines relating to causing death by driving and wildlife & environmental crime. Consultation on Manslaughter Sentencing GuidelinesThe Sentencing Council for England and Wales is also currently going through a consultation exercise, this time over guidelines relating to the sentencing of offenders convicted of manslaughter. The Council highlights that there are currently no comprehensive guidelines on sentencing for these “very serious and difficult” types of cases, and that the introduction of guidelines will help to promote consistency in offending and also improve transparency. The proposed guideline will cover four types of manslaughter: Unlawful Act manslaughterGross negligence manslaughterManslaughter by reason of loss of controlManslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility “Manslaughter always involves the loss of a human life and no sentence can make up for that loss,” commented Sentencing Council member Mr Justice Holroyde. “In developing these guidelines, we have been keenly aware of the impact caused by these offences and so the guidelines aim to ensure sentencing that properly reflects both the culpability of the offender and the seriousness of the harm which has been caused.” Contact UsIf you have been charged with a criminal offence then contact our specialist criminal defence lawyers today. Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.  
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DCPCU Involved in Successful Money Laundering Prosecutions

The Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) has been involved in a number of recent successful money laundering prosecutions. The DCPCUThe DCPCU is a unique proactive police unit, with a national remit, formed as a partnership between UK Finance, the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police together with the Home Office. It is sponsored by UK Finance, the new industry body representing around 300 firms in the UK providing credit, banking, markets and payments-related services. The ongoing brief of the DCPCU is to investigate, target and, where appropriate, arrest and seek successful prosecution of offenders responsible for card, cheque and payment fraud crimes. It has reportedly achieved an estimated £486 million in savings from reduced fraud activity since its establishment in April 2002. Credit Card FraudIn one recently reported case, a man who laundered almost a million pounds in a year has been jailed for six years and four months. His home was searched in October 2016 as part of a week-long police initiative to tackle card fraudsters, after intelligence suggested he had been using compromised cards to buy electronic goods with a value of £15,000 and sell these on. Officers found a number of credit cards and a number of fraudulent documents, including a driving licence with the man’s picture but using an alias. When police researched this name they found a bank account which had been used in 2014 to receive £50,000 from a romance fraud. Further enquiries found there had been a £900,000 turnover in a bank account during the previous year. He was found guilty of disguising criminal property and was sentenced to a total of six years and four months’ imprisonment. He had already pleaded guilty to three other charges. Money Laundering OffencesIn a second case, a man has pleaded guilty to laundering £213,096 through his bank account over a six-year period. His bank account was examined after he was arrested on a related matter, and financial investigators found that he had no source of legitimate income to fund his lifestyle. He was given a two-year suspended sentence by a judge at Inner London Crown Court. He also received 250 hours unpaid work, 20 day rehabilitation activity requirement and forfeiture of all phones, laptops, bank cards and driving licence. “Money laundering is an extremely serious offence,” commented Detective Constable Fiona Roope of the DCPCU. “The police work very closely with the banking industry to prosecute offenders involved in money laundering and a conviction can have very real consequences.” In a third recently reported case, two men have been jailed for their roles in the dispersal of almost £120,000 of stolen funds. They were sentenced to a total of more than five years in jail following the laundering of the stolen money through a series of bank accounts. Contact UsIf you have been charged with money laundering, or any other criminal offence, then contact our specialist criminal defence lawyers today.
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Repealing the Offensive Behaviour and Threatening Communications Act

Members of the public are being asked for their views on proposals to repeal the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act 2012.

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Tackling Hate Crime in Scotland

The Scottish Government has set out a series of practical measures it intends to take to tackle and prevent hate crime in Scotland. These measures will be focused primarily on tackling prejudice and building stronger communities.

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Beltrami & Co. Awarded by Corporate USA Today - Annual Awards - 2017

We are charmed to announce that we been awarded by Corporate USA Today - Annual Awards - 2017 the Law Firm of the Year - Criminal Law - Scotland
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Beltrami & Co. Awarded Best in Criminal Law Services

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We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded 'Best in Criminal Law Services for the Global Awards 2017 - Corporate LiveWire.

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New Strategy to Tackle Human Trafficking

The Scottish Government has launched a new strategy to tackle the crime of human trafficking.

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Couple Convicted after Long Running Fraud Trial

A criminal trial that began back in September 2015 has finally concluded with guilty verdicts for a married couple from Renfrewshire, reports the BBC.

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Reconviction Rates Fall in Scotland

New statistics from Scotland’s Chief Statistician have revealed that reconviction rates for offenders in Scotland are at the lowest levels for eighteen years.

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Latest Figures Reveal Increase in Financial Fraud

The latest figures from Financial Fraud Action UK show that financial fraud losses across payment cards, remote banking and cheques totalled £768.8 million in 2016, which is an increase of 2% compared to the previous year.

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Domestic Abuse in Scotland

The Scottish Government has introduced a new bill to Parliament that will give additional powers to tackle those who psychologically abuse their partners using coercive and controlling behaviour.

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Carlton Legal Services Seeks Three Experienced Legal Secretaries

 Carlton Legal Services provides support services to legal firms and one award-winning, Glasgow city centre top tier law firm in particular. Please note that this is not an agency post.  Due to continued growth, Carlton Legal Services now seeks a further 3 experienced legal secretaries to join their team.

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Beltrami & Co.'s Client Found Not Guilty of Murder Charge

Philip Morrison was today found not guilty of the charge of murder. The charge related to the death of Derek Sheerin in 1994. Mr Morrison wishes to make the following comments;

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Sharp Rise in Incidents of Identify Fraud

Recently released figures from Cifas, the fraud prevention service, have revealed that in 2016 the number of identify frauds reached the highest levels every recorded.

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Law Firm of the Year Award

 Beltrami& Co. have been awarded Law Firm of the Year in the Criminal Law category, awarded by The M&A Today – Global Rankings – 2017. The M&A Today Global Rankings 2017 ‘Top Tier’ program provides a benchmark of the very best of the best industry leaders, exemplary teams and distinguished organisations.

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Penalties Double for Driving with a Mobile Phone

Increased penalties are now in force for drivers caught using their mobile phones at the wheel, the UK Government has confirmed.

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Joint Operations with Europol Lead to Arrests

UK law enforcement organisations have worked closely with Europol in several recent operations that led to a number of significant arrests. 

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Week of Police Action on Uninsured Driving

Police Scotland has highlighted the need for all drivers to make sure they hold valid car insurance, as it takes part in a week of action targeting uninsured drivers in conjunction with the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).

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Report Reveals Scottish Criminal Court Proceedings

A new report by Scotland’s Chief Statistician has revealed the number of people proceeded against in criminal courts in Scotland and the nature of the crimes they have been charged with.

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Rise in Festive Drink Drivers

Police Scotland’s recent festive crack down on drink driving resulted in a slight increase in the proportion of drivers stopped by police who were found to be over the drink drive limit.

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