UK Justice Secretary Alex Chalk announced Wednesday that the UK will enact new laws to force criminals to attend their sentencings in court, with offenders potentially being subject to longer sentences.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak commented saying “Criminals shouldn’t be allowed to take the coward’s way out by refusing to face their victims in court.”
It will still be up to the discretion of the judiciary to decide whether it is “in the interests of justice to order an offender to attend court and for prison staff and custody officers to decide whether the use of force is reasonable and proportionate in each case.”
This comes amidst UK courts facing record delays in cases being heard, with UK Criminal Bar Association Chair Kirsty Brimelow KC saying the new measures are “high risk, once you start going down that road it’s increasing risk for those who are handling the prisoner and you are increasing the risk of disrupting the whole proceeding in any event which might cause more distress for families.”
The backlog is currently estimated at 64,000 cases.