Counter Terrorism and Sentencing Bill

Explanatory Notes

Section 4: Serious terrorism sentence for adults aged under 21: England and Wales

85. Section 4 creates a new type of sentence for serious terrorist offenders aged 18 to under 21 - a serious terrorism sentence of detention in a young offender institution, comprising of a custodial period and an extension period. It inserts new section 268A, 268B and 268C into the Sentencing Code.

86. New section 268A requires that the serious terrorism sentence of detention in a young offender institution must comprise of the appropriate custodial term (defined in section 268C to be a minimum of 14 years) and an extension period to be served on licence.

87. In new section 268B, subsection (1) outlines the criteria for the court to impose the sentence where the offence was committed on or after the date the provision comes into force, the offender is aged 18 or over when the offence was committed but below 21 at the point of conviction, where there is a significant risk of serious harm occasioned by the commission by the offender of further serious terrorism offences or other offences specified in section 308 of the Sentencing Code, where the ‘risk of multiple deaths’ condition is met, and where the court does not impose a sentence of custody for life.

88. In new section 268B, subsection (2) provides that the court must then impose the sentence unless exceptional circumstances apply in relation to the offence or the offender that justify not imposing a serious terrorism sentence where the aforementioned circumstances are met.

89. In new section 268B, subsections (3) and (4) define the risk of multiple deaths condition, requiring that the offender was aware or ought to have been aware that the offending was very likely to result in or contribute to the deaths of at least two people as the result of an act of terrorism, as defined in section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000, irrespective of whether or not any deaths actually occurred.

90. In new section 268B, subsection (5) defines the day on which the offence was committed, if it took place over two days or more, the offence is to be taken to have been committed on the last of those days. As set out in new subsection (1) it applies to offences committed on or after this section comes into force

91. In new section 268B, subsection (6) provides that the pre-sentence report requirements in section 30 of the Sentencing Code apply in determining the risk of serious harm or assessment of dangerousness under new section 268B(1)(d).

92. New section 268C provides for the term of detention in a young offender institution for the new special terrorism sentence for under 21s. New subsection (2) provides that the appropriate custodial term will be 14 years or longer as set in line with section 231 of the Code. New subsections (3) and (4) provide this will be followed by an extended licence period determined by the court according to the need to protect the public from the risk of harm of committing further serious terrorism offences or other specified offences posed by the offender of between 7 and 25 years.


Prepared 19th May 2020