witness intimidation

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glenbar | 20:56 Thu 22nd Jul 2010 | Criminal
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What sentence is someone likely to get for witness intimidation. I have no details, only know he is in prison awaiting trial. Thank you


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Our courts take 'attempting to pervert the course of justice' extremely serious. Even simply creating a false story to avoid a speeding conviction is likely to result in a prison sentence (of between 6 and 18 months).

So using threats against others, in order to attempt to pervert the course of justice, is going to result in a much longer sentence. Without knowing the exact circumstances, it's hard to give a very accurate estimate of the sentence. As an example, the mother of Sean Mercer, who murdered 11-year-old Rhys Jones in Liverpool was sentenced to 3 years for attempting to pervert the course of justice, but there was no suggestion that she'd threatened anyone. So, I'd guess at a possible sentence of 5 years for the offence you refer to.

Witness Intimidation is a specific offence under the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act.

The offence is “either way” (meaning it can be dealt with either by magistrates or at the Crown Court) and it carries a maximum of five years custody.

Magistrates’ sentencing guidelines suggest a “starting point” of custody even for the least serious examples. If, as your question suggests, the threats involve an organised plot hatched by someone already in custody and obviously involving others, then the seriousness is considerably increased. I would suggest a lengthy custodial sentence is inevitable. This would almost certainly be imposed consecutive to anything else imposed for the original offence).

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