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The Sentencing Council has today published new guidance to judges and magistrates for assault offences. It aims to ensure a more consistent and proportionate approach to sentencing, with offenders receiving a sentence that reflects the harm they have caused to their victim and their culpability. The present guidance, according to some judges, puts too much emphasis on premeditation, when the evidence suggests that many assault offences are spontaneous and involve minimum premeditation. The guidance covers a wide range of offences of violence, from causing grievous bodily harm with intent to common assault. It apples to all offenders aged 18 and over, and for the first time will be applicable to both the Crown court and magistrates’ court. The council suggests that, under the new regime, there is likely to be an increase in the length of custodial sentences for those who commit the most serious assaults, while the courts will make more use of community sentences for offences at the other end of the spectrum, where little or no physical harm is caused The guidance comes into effect on 13 June this year. Chairman of the Sentencing Council Lord Justice Leveson said: ‘This guideline will increase consistency in sentencing and help ensure offenders receive sentences that accurately reflect the harm they have caused their victim and their culpability. ‘Where serious injury is inflicted, offenders can rightly expect to go to jail, but where very minor or no injuries are caused, sentencers need to apply a proportionate response.’ The new guidance can be found on the Sentencing Council website.