What to Expect in Sentencing for Conspiracy to Murder

What is the sentence for conspiracy to murder?

Contrary to what many people believe, conspiracy to murder is not a crime based on killing a person. It’s actually, the crime of agreeing with another person or persons to commit a murder.

conspiracy to murder

Another related offence is ‘soliciting to murder’ which is when somebody asks somebody else to murder somebody on their behalf, typically in exchange for money.

In any court, it’s the role of the prosecution to prove that an offence happened. To prove the crime of Conspiracy to Murder, the prosecution must show that those accused were acting together, in an expressed or implied or assumed ‘agreement’. They must also show, with direct or circumstantial evidence, the intention to murder or intention to cause really serious injury.

Conspiracy to murder is a serious offence. If you are found guilty and convicted, you are likely to be handed a term of imprisonment from the judge or magistrate in your court trial. Depending on what’s happened, this may be a few years or even life imprisonment. It’s possible that a stiff and hefty sentence of imprisonment could be given, this may even be life imprisonment at maximum or several years at a minimum.

To help you to understand what the outcome might be as a result of being convicted of conspiracy to murder, we’ve detailed the sentencing guidelines below.  Please note that a competent and experienced solicitor may be able to get any prison sentence reduced or even avoid it entirely.

Have you been charged or arrested for Conspiracy to Murder? 

It’s vital to the success of your case to secure a knowledgeable, competent and experienced solicitor to support you throughout the conspiracy to murder investigation. You will need legal help right from the beginning, which will be the initial police interview through to your court appearance and the end of the trial.

As soon as you find out that you’re under investigation or you are charged with this crime, it’s essential that you seek competent legal advice immediately. By working with skilled conspiracy to murder solicitors, you may even be able to have your case dismissed before it reaches the court stage.

If you or somebody close to you has been charged or arrested in connection to charges of conspiracy to murder, it will make you feel anxious and nervous about what’s going happen.

In some cases, people are accused of playing a role, but in reality, they haven’t even been involved. In cases of this nature, it’s crucial that you get your name cleared and any connection to the crime removed.

What type of actions are involved in a Conspiracy to Murder?

A conspiracy to murder is when two or more people agree to a course of action that will result in the unlawful killing of another person. It may be that they had the intention to kill or to cause grievous bodily harm.  In some cases, this is an offence that is linked to terrorism and in others, it could be related to domestic strife or a business agreement.

This offence is more about making the agreement to plan to kill a person. Even if the event does not take place, the mere fact of planning to take a life is enough to be put through a court trial and sentenced to a term in prison if found guilty and therefore convicted.

As in any court case, the role of the prosecution is to prove that the accused are guilty. They need to prove to the jury and judge that without doubt, the people involved were acting together with some ‘agreement’ between them. This agreement might be implied or assumed but the intention was to cause very serious injury or death.

Some examples of previous cases include situations where street or gang fighting has resulted in the death of several people or when an armed robbery has gone wrong.

Well known cases that have more recently passed through the courts include the case of a man wanting his daughter’s husband killed. During the making of arrangements, the man paid an undercover police officer £4,000 and was arrested. The man was sentenced to 16 years in jail, with his accomplices jailed for 12 years.

Another case is when a person tried to arrange for the murder of three persons. He and his assailants received a range of sentences between 12 to 16 years.

A terrorist plotted to use three limousines to explode in an underground carpark for mass murder. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison despite not carrying through the act of killing anybody. This was eventually reduced to 30 years.

What is the average sentence for conspiracy to murder?  

Conspiracy to murder is a very serious offence in law.  If found guilty and convicted, your punishment may be a life sentence that has life-long consequences. You could stay in prison until release which will be decided by the Parole Board, at which point you will be under licence for the rest of your life.

How does a court decide on the seriousness of the conspiracy to murder offence for sentencing purposes?

The information that judges are given with regards to sentencing are only guidelines, and each case will be looked at individually. One of the factors judges consider in every case of this nature is the defendant’s level of genuine remorse.

The following factors are considered when the court decides which sentence to give. They will look at:

  • Your previous conviction
  • Your level of remorse
  • Whether you’re being affected by what happened psychologically or emotionally
  • What happened in the case and what harm was done to the victims
  • Whether the agreement to murder or harm was carried through to completion

What are some of the mitigating factors that might reduce the conspiracy to murder sentence?

Certain aspects of a case are known as the mitigating aspects which can influence the sentence that a judge gives. One of the factors judges consider in every case of this nature is the defendant’s level of genuine remorse.

The following are some of the other factors considered when the court decides which sentence to give. They will look at:

  • Any previous conviction
  • Your level of remorse
  • Your level of cooperation with the investigation
  • Whether the activity you took part in was originally legitimate
  • Your reputation / good character
  • Whether you have any serious medical conditions that require long term, urgent or intensive treatment
  • Whether you have a learning disability or a mental disorder
  • Whether you are the sole or primary carer for related dependents

Is it possible to reduce a sentence for conspiracy to murder with a guilty plea?

In recent years, several changes have been made to the sentencing system in the UK to save the court time and cost and to protect witnesses from the stress of needlessly going through a trial. For offenders aged 18 and over, pleading guilty early on in a case can reduce a sentence by as much as one third (maximum). The later the plea is entered, the smaller the reduction.

‘Early on’ refers to ‘the first stage of the proceedings’ and means anytime up to and including the first hearing at the Magistrates Court or Crown Court for indictable offences.

If a plea is entered 14 days after the first hearing, for example, the maximum level of reduction is just 20% or one fifth of the sentence. For indictable offences, the limit for a guilty plea to be made is within 28 days after the prosecutor has stated compliance with section 3 of CPIA 1996 and serving disclosure; although the decision is ultimately in the hands of the Judge who has discretion to apply whatever credit is deemed appropriate.

After these times there is a sliding scale of credit applied. This goes down to one tenth on the first day of the trial and to zero if entered during the course of the trial. In theory, the ten percent could be given if the plea is issued after the opening speeches on the first day, but prior to any witness evidence being heard.

If the accused does not want to plead guilty, then it’s important for the solicitor to regularly inform the court throughout the trial of the reasons why the client’s plea is not guilty.

What are some of the other consequences of the conspiracy to murder offence?

Ancillary Orders

A court can also make ancillary orders on a defendant if they are found guilty and convicted of a conspiracy to murder offence. These are extra elements of punishment that can be added to a sentence and include additional restrictions or requirements that can affect a dependent’s finances, your property or business or financial activity.

Ancillary orders that are typically added to the penalty for those who are found to be guilty of conspiracy to murder include:

  • Compensation for loss
  • Restraint orders
  • Reparation orders
  • Being on licence
  • Confiscation orders

As part of your investigation, you may also have your assets frozen with the possibility of having cash or other assets seized.

In addition, the court may demand payment of the following if the accused is convicted:

Payment of costs applied for by the prosecutors

Although the police meet some of the costs involved in the prosecution, the costs of investigation are typically sought from the convicted. These may include the costs of:

  • The work done in obtaining enough evidence for prosecution either at the initial stage or later at the request of Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
  • Seeking medical or expert evidence as part of the investigation, (where a witness is required to attend Court, the cost of the attendance falls on the CPS).
  • Re-interviewing witnesses
  • The entire costs of the prosecutor, including fees for the use of external Barristers used by the CPS, can be recovered from the defendant, subject to means. At the end of the case, the prosecutor under The Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 will request the Judge to order a sum to be paid for the costs incurred by the prosecutor in bringing the prosecution.

Victims surcharges

The term victims’ surcharges can be explained as paying compensation to a fund for victims and can range between £20 to £170 depending on what sentence you were given at conviction.

can be added to national information databases?

There are several national databases that hold information about individuals and any allegations made about them, their criminal and court records. These include the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) which was previously known as the CRB (Criminal Record Bureau) and the Police National Computer (PNC).  Depending on what happened, whether the accused is convicted and what sentence was issued, the accused may be added to one or all these databases. Their purpose is to provide information to potential employers and to regulate the ability to take part in certain activities.

If your case progresses to court and you are convicted of conspiracy to murder, your conviction will be noted on your CRB / police record. The period of the endorsement will depend on the nature and length of your sentence.

Below are details on how long you will be listed as holding a criminal record if convicted. This is something very serious to consider when it comes to future employment. The term ‘spent’ refers to when your name can be removed from the databases.

Rehabilitation Period
(the time it takes for the sentence to become ‘spent’)
Sentence Adult (aged 18+) at time of conviction Young person (aged under 18) at time of conviction
Prison sentences of more than 4 years Sentence is never spent Sentence is never spent
Prison sentences of more than 2.5 years (30 months) but less than 4 years Sentence length 7 years Sentence length 3.5 years
Prison sentences of more than 6 months but less than 2.5 years (30 months) Sentence length +4 years Sentence length +2 years
Prison sentences of less than 6 months Sentence length + 2 years Sentence length +18 months
Conditional Discharge Length of order Length of order
Absolute Discharge None None
Conditional Caution 3 months 3 months
Simple Caution / Youth Caution None – immediately ‘spent’ None – immediately ‘spent’
Other Including Compensation Order, Supervision Order, Bind Over, Hospital Order Length of the order / once compensation is paid Length of the order / once compensation is paid

How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?

Our criminal solicitors have more than 30 years’ experience dealing with complex conspiracy to murder, soliciting to murder and manslaughter cases. We appreciate clients facing these offences need a dedicated team, and the most experienced legal minds working on their case; a team you can trust and depend upon. We also appreciate the effect of such proceedings on family members and loved ones and the need for them to understand proceedings and to be kept up to date on your case as it progresses.

Our recent successful murder cases

We have secured acquittals in allegations of murder, conspiracy to murder, joint murder enterprise and manslaughter allegations. In fact, our criminal solicitors have secured the acquittals of several people indicted for murder and conspiracy to murder on the same indictment.

Owing to the size, expertise and reputation of the firm, our criminal solicitors have access to the best QCs, Barristers and forensic analysts who will work together to secure the best possible outcome for you. Since most murder allegations feature telephone and covert surveillance evidence, we are closely linked to masters of cell-site evidence and can call upon their talent to enhance the defence. We will gather witness statements on your behalf and tirelessly search for and present evidence which can win the case for us.

Arrest & Interview

The first you will hear about being involved in a conspiracy to murder case is when you are contacted by the police. The police are likely to either arrest you or ask you attend a meeting at the police station to discuss your side of the story. They will also have a plan to see if they can get you to incriminate yourself through your words.

The police will ask you several questions. They may even have some evidence to prove that you are connected to the crime in some way or form. However, you won’t necessarily be shown all the evidence initially, even if you are shown some of what they have.

The fact that you aren’t shown all the evidence by the police is one of the reasons why it’s imperative that you attend the ‘meeting’ or interview at the police station with a legal professional who can represent you. Not only will a conspiracy to murder lawyer advise you of your options, but they will guide you in what to say and what not to say.

A lawyer can also ask the police to produce any further evidence they have against you. This will be highly beneficial as the lawyer can then understand what he needs to do to protect you and get you the best outcome in your case. In some cases, he may even be able to get your case dismissed before it reaches the court. In other cases, it will depend upon what’s happened and your level of involvement, but a competent lawyer will be able to get you the best possible outcome. If you are found to be guilty and convicted, an improved outcome will be less years in prison.

Would you like to discuss your case before instructing us?

If you’d like to have a no-obligation chat with us before you instruct us to take your case, then call us today.

In addition to giving you a free consultation, we can also represent you at the police station if you’ve been arrested. We can look at securing your legal aid.

Please Contact Us and ask to speak to our conspiracy to murder lawyers and criminal defence solicitors to arrange a meeting in person, online or by telephone. If you prefer, you can WhatsApp us from the link you will find at the bottom banner if you open this page on your mobile phone device.

Get in touch with us now for conspiracy to murder legal help.

 

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