Section 90 – 92
Section 90 requires that young people from 10-17 years convicted of murder are tried and sentenced in the Crown court. This is an indeterminate order which is functionally equivalent to the mandatory life sentence in the case of an adult.
Administratively the sentence has two parts:
- The young person first has to serve a minimum period of detention specified in the tariff. The tariff is set by the court at the point of sentence. The court is required to have a ‘starting point’ of 12 years in determining the minimum term to be served in custody with any departure from that having to be justified by the court;
- Once the tariff has expired the young person will remain in custody until the Parole Board considers it safe to release him or her into the community under licence. The licence remains in force for life.
Section 91 provides for long terms of detention for other ‘grave crimes’ up to the maximum available in the case of an adult.
In the case of a young person aged 10-17 the offences to which the provisions apply are:
- An offence punishable in the case of an adult with imprisonment of 14 years or more. (This includes rape, manslaughter, robbery, residential burglary, grievous bodily harm with intent (s18) handling stolen goods);
- Indecent assault on a man or a woman (the maximum sentence for both these offences in an adult is ten years) including sexual assault, child sex offences, sexual activity with a family member.
Additionally in the case of a young person aged 14-17 years the following offences would apply:
- Death by dangerous driving (maximum penalty for this offence in the case of an adult is ten years); or
- Causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs (maximum penalty for this offence in the case of an adult is ten years).
For 16 and 17 year olds certain firearms offences would also merit a section 91 sentence. The minimum penalty would be three years detention unless there are exceptional circumstances which justify an alternative sentence. The relevant offences are;
- Possessing or distributing prohibited weapons or ammunition;
- Possessing or distributing a firearm disguised as another object.