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Letter to Tom Pursglove MP on access to sentencing remarks for victims of mentally disordered offenders

Dear Tom

Access to sentencing remarks for victims of mentally disordered offenders

Many thanks for your recent letter on this subject, which was helpful.

My Office has been in contact with Julian Hendy to discuss your letter and would like to follow up with some additional queries. The experience of Hundred Families is that obtaining sentencing remarks can be somewhat of a lottery, dependant on the individual court officials’ knowledge of the system and entitlements for victims.

We would therefore welcome further information on:

  • How information and guidance on obtaining sentencing remarks will be disseminated effectively to Victim Liaison Officers (VLOs) and court officials, and
  • What mechanism will be available for families who do not have a VLO to apply to courts for copies of sentencing remarks?

I would be most grateful if you were able to respond with this additional information.

Our usual practice, in the interests of transparency, is to publish our correspondence on our website shortly after sending unless there is reason not to do so.

Kind regards,
Dame Vera Baird QC
Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales