Criminal Justice Act 2007

33.

Amendment of section 27 of Misuse of Drugs Act 1977.

33.— Section 27 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 is amended by the substitution of the following subsections for subsections (3A) to (3K):

“(3A) Every person guilty of an offence under section 15A or 15B of this Act shall be liable, on conviction on indictment—

( a) to imprisonment for life or such shorter term as the court may determine, subject to subsections (3C) and (3D) of this section or, where subsection (3F) of this section applies, to that subsection, and

( b) at the court’s discretion, to a fine of such amount as the court considers appropriate.

(3B) The court, in imposing sentence on a person for an offence under section 15A or 15B of this Act, may, in particular, have regard to whether the person has a previous conviction for a drug trafficking offence.

(3C) Where a person (other than a person under the age of 18 years) is convicted of an offence under section 15A or 15B of this Act, the court shall, in imposing sentence, specify a term of not less than 10 years as the minimum term of imprisonment to be served by the person.

(3D) ( a) The purpose of this subsection is to provide that in view of the harm caused to society by drug trafficking, a court, in imposing sentence on a person (other than a person under the age of 18 years) for an offence under section 15A or 15B of this Act, shall specify a term of not less than 10 years as the minimum term of imprisonment to be served by the person, unless the court determines that by reason of exceptional and specific circumstances relating to the offence, or the person convicted of the offence, it would be unjust in all the circumstances to do so.

( b) Subsection (3C) of this section shall not apply where the court is satisfied that there are exceptional and specific circumstances relating to the offence, or the person convicted of the offence, which would make a sentence of not less than 10 years imprisonment unjust in all the circumstances and for that purpose the court may, subject to this subsection, have regard to any matters it considers appropriate, including—

(i) whether that person pleaded guilty to the offence and, if so—

(I) the stage at which he or she indicated the intention to plead guilty, and

(II) the circumstances in which the indication was given,

and

(ii) whether that person materially assisted in the investigation of the offence.

( c) The court, in considering for the purposes of paragraph ( b) of this subsection whether a sentence of not less than 10 years imprisonment is unjust in all the circumstances, may have regard, in particular, to—

(i) whether the person convicted of the offence concerned was previously convicted of a drug trafficking offence, and

(ii) whether the public interest in preventing drug trafficking would be served by the imposition of a lesser sentence.

(3E) Subsections (3C) and (3D) of this section apply and have effect only in relation to a person convicted of a first offence under section 15A or 15B of this Act (other than a person who falls under paragraph ( b) of subsection (3F) of this section), and accordingly references in those first-mentioned subsections to an offence under section 15A or 15B of this Act are to be construed as references to a first such offence.

(3F) Where a person (other than a person under the age of 18 years)—

( a) is convicted of a second or subsequent offence under section 15A or 15B of this Act, or

( b) is convicted of a first offence under one of those sections and has been convicted under the other of those sections,

the court shall, in imposing sentence, specify a term of not less than 10 years as the minimum term of imprisonment to be served by the person.

(3G) The power conferred by section 23 of the Criminal Justice Act 1951 to commute or remit a punishment shall not, in the case of a person serving a sentence imposed under subsection (3A) of this section, be exercised before the expiry of the minimum term specified by the court under subsection (3C) or (3F), as may be appropriate, of this section less any reduction of that term under subsection (3H) of this section.

(3H) The rules or practice whereby prisoners generally may earn remission of sentence by industry and good conduct shall apply in the case of a person serving a sentence imposed under subsection (3A) of this section and the minimum term specified by the court under subsection (3C) of this section shall be reduced by the amount of any remission so earned by the person.

(3I) Any powers conferred by rules made under section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1960 to release temporarily a person serving a sentence of imprisonment shall not, in the case of a person serving a sentence imposed under subsection (3A) of this section, be exercised during the term for which the commutation or remission of his or her punishment is prohibited by subsection (3G) of this section unless for a grave reason of a humanitarian nature, and any release so granted shall be only of such limited duration as is justified by such reason.

(3J) In imposing a sentence on a person convicted of an offence under section 15A or 15B of this Act, a court—

( a) may inquire whether at the time of the commission of the offence the person was addicted to one or more controlled drugs, and

( b) if satisfied that the person was so addicted at that time and that the addiction was a substantial factor leading to the commission of the offence, may list the sentence for review after the expiry of not less than one-half of the term specified by the court under subsection (3C) or (3F), as may be appropriate, of this section.

(3K) On reviewing a sentence listed under subsection (3J)( b) of this section, the court—

( a) may suspend the remainder of the sentence on any conditions it considers fit, and

( b) in deciding whether to exercise its powers under this subsection, may have regard to any matters it considers appropriate.

(3L) Paragraph ( a) of section 13(2) of the Criminal Procedure Act 1967 shall not apply in relation to an offence under section 15A or 15B of this Act, but each of those offences shall be deemed for the purposes of paragraph ( b) of section 13(2) of that Act to be an offence to which section 13 of that Act applies.

(3M) The reference in subsection (3I) of this section to section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1960 shall be construed to include that section as applied by section 4 of the Prisons Act 1970.

(3N) In subsections (3B) and (3D) of this section ‘drug trafficking offence’ has the meaning it has in section 3(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1994 and in subsection (3D) of this section ‘drug trafficking’ has the meaning it has in the said section 3(1).”.