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Reduction in sentence for cooperating with the Police

In accordance with section 74 of the Sentencing Code 2020, a discounted sentence should be reflected in the eventual sentence imposed, when a defendant has provided information and/or assisted the relevant law enforcement authorities.

The recent case of R v Royle [2023] Crim 1311 considered multiple applications for leave to appeal against sentences concerning the reduction to a sentence, where an offender provides such information and/or assistance.

The Court of Appeal, in considering the said appeals, provided helpful guidance insofar as:

  1. Why do informers receive a reduction in sentence?
  2. At what stage of sentencing should the reduction be made?
  3. How great a reduction should be made?
  4. What factors are relevant in determining the appropriate reduction?
  5. Must the sentencer announce in open court the level of reduction made?

In doing so, the Court of Appeal, affirmed the principles applied when reducing a sentence for offenders who have provided information and/or assistance but they must do so prior to being sentenced in the Crown Court. 

In terms of sentencing structure, again, the following structure was affirmed:

  1. Identify, with reference to the relevant sentencing guideline, the appropriate starting point;
  2. Adjust the appropriate starting point upwards OR downwards to reflect the aggravating AND mitigating features;
  3. Adjust the sentence downwards to reflect the extent of the information and/or assistance provided; &
  4. Adjust sentence further to reflect credit, although a guilty plea is not required to make a reduction for providing information / assistance
  5. Reduce further to reflect personal mitigation

For further details:

Royle & Ors v R. [2023] EWCA Crim 1311 (13 November 2023) (

Royle & Ors v R. | [2023] EWCA Crim 1311 | England and Wales Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) | Judgment | Law | CaseMine