The Criminal Justice (Suspended Sentences of Imprisonment) Act 2017 was enacted on 15 March 2017. The Act amends section 99 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006, which contains powers and procedures relating to suspended sentencing.
The legislation was brought forward following a High Court judgment of 19 April 2016 which found certain provisions of section 99 of the 2006 Act in relation to the activation of suspended sentences to be unconstitutional. The essential difficulty, which led to the striking down of subsections 99(9) and 99(10), was the lack of an effective appeal mechanism in respect of a second, triggering conviction before referral to the original court for a decision on activation of a suspended sentence. The result was that a person could serve time in prison in respect of an activated suspended sentence because of a further offence of which he or she may ultimately be cleared on appeal. The amending legislation corrected this deficiency, ensuring a prior right of appeal, and also addressed related procedural issues.