Sadiq Khan MP, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, commenting on Lord Justice Thomas, vice-president of the Queen's Bench Division, and Lord Justice Goldring, the senior presiding judge of England and Wales’s response to the Ministry of Justice Green Paper, said:
“The Tory-led Government should take this warning from these top judges very seriously. Their plans to automatically reduce sentences by a half for those who plead guilty is an attempt to cut costs, not do justice.
“The British public won’t accept that justice is being served if sentences are reduced so dramatically by an admission of guilt. Sentences should reflect the severity of the crime and the risk to the public, not the Government’s desire to cut costs by sending fewer people to prison and for shorter amounts of time.
“The Conservative-led Government should think again and present legislation on sentencing that focuses on cutting re-offending and cutting crime, not cutting costs.
“The Government should also take heed of the concerns of the judges that this policy may lead to people who are in fact innocent pleading guilty and making false admissions, rather than risking a long sentence. This flies in the face of the principle of British justice – that people get a fair trial and are found guilty or not based on the evidence of the case.
“The policy is a mess. It is unacceptable to the public, unacceptable to the judges and driven by cutting costs, not crime.”