Membership, support or meeting proscribed organisations is an offence that can come with a stiff punishment. This article provides detailed guidance on the typical sentencing for this offence.

What is the sentence for Membership, support or meeting proscribed organisations in 2020?

The offence of membership, support or meeting proscribed organisations is centered on providing any aid, funding or promotion of terrorist groups.

There are several proscribed organisations in the UK; these include groups such as:

  • Abdallah Azzam Brigades (AAB)
  • Abu Nidal Organisation (ANO)
  • Ajnad Misr (Soldiers of Egypt)
  • Al Ghurabaa
  • Al Murabitun

The reason why proscribed groups are of such concern is that the Home Secretary has proscribed them because they are concerned with terrorism. They may be participating in or committing acts of terrorism, preparing for terrorism, promoting terrorism or otherwise concerned in it.

Here are some examples of acts that may be categorised as something that would be seen as getting involved in membership, support or meeting proscribed organisations solicitors:

Participating or committing acts of terrorism – for instance, a threat or action involving severe violence against a person, damage to property or endangering someone’s life.

Membership of proscribed organisations – for example, joining the organisation and taking part in organised meetings to discuss terrorism-related topics.

Support of proscribed organisation – an example of this might be encouraging a young person to join an organisation through promotion, or providing administrative support.

Meeting of proscribed organisations – for instance, attending a meeting with other members of a banned organisation.

In addition to these examples of membership, support or meeting proscribed organisations there are many more.

If you would like to know more about the membership, support or meeting proscribed organisations offence, and you don’t see your specific situation here, get in touch with us on 0208 888 5225 for more information. We are here to help and happy to do so.

To provide you with an understanding of what might happen if you’re convicted of membership, support or meeting proscribed organisations; we’ve put some questions and answers together that our clients typically ask. 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 with membership, support or meeting proscribed organisations?

Being charged with membership, support or meeting proscribed organisations means that you will need the help of a legal professional. Solicitors are available to work at very short notice, and they can come to the police station and accompany you to any police interview.

You must have somebody with experience in these cases with you to advise you of what you should and shouldn’t say. The police interview can be a very stressful experience with probing questions and a tense environment designed to make you feel under pressure and to catch you out.

UK law is very complex and changes on an almost daily basis. It’s vital to use somebody who has in-depth experience of this offence so that they are familiar with the different ways to make an argument against the prosecution team.

What is the average sentence for membership, support or meeting proscribed organisations offences?

The average sentence for this type of offence ranges from a high-level community order to a maximum of ten years imprisonment. The final verdict will depend on what you did, how you did it and who it affected or could potentially affect.

What are some of the mitigating factors that might reduce the membership, support or meeting proscribed organisations sentence?

When sentencing for membership, support or meeting proscribed organisations offences, your case will be investigated thoroughly by the police and other regulatory agents.

There will be an examination of whether you have taken part in a group activity or were forced into it. If you’ve used a false identity, or you have used the identity of others to access more funds, your sentence will consider this.

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 initially legitimate
  • Your reputation / good character
  • Whether you have any severe 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 membership, support or meeting proscribed organisations 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. However, the decision is ultimately in the hands of the Judge, who has the 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 per cent 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 essential 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 membership, support or meeting proscribed organisations offence?

Ancillary Orders

A court can also make ancillary orders on a defendant if they are found guilty and convicted of a money-laundering conspiracy 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 membership, support or meeting proscribed organisations include:

  • Compensation for loss
  • Restraint orders
  • Reparation orders
  • Financial reporting order
  • Disqualification from directing a company
  • Confiscation orders

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

Besides, 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 sufficient 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.

How sentences 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 membership, support or meeting proscribed organisations and defrauding the HMRC tax office, 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

What should you do if you are arrested or charged with membership, support or meeting proscribed organisations?

If you’ve been arrested or charged with membership, support or meeting proscribed organisations, you must take the legal advice of a lawyer who is experienced in this field immediately.

The police will want to interview you. At this stage, you won’t know what evidence the police hold on you. A favoured tactic of the police is to withhold some of the evidence so that you might trip over yourself and the police can then charge you and use it against you in court.

The benefit of hiring a good quality lawyer is that they will be able to demand to see all evidence that the police have on you.

The sooner you hire a lawyer, the faster they will be able to start crafting a robust defence strategy to provide you with some protection.

How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?

More than three decades of experience of defending membership, support or meeting proscribed organisations offenders, means that our legal team are well versed in how to battle against the prosecution effectively. Working proactively, our legal team always go on the front foot and will go all out to ensure that they win as many cases as possible. They are very competitive and determined to overcome in cases.

Over the last thirty years, we have developed strong relationships with other legal professionals such as QCs, Barristers and expert witnesses. Using our connections, we will work together to build an almost water-tight defence strategy.

Being in any court case can be incredibly challenging for the accused. In addition to legal support, we build a relationship with you so that you know you can count on us to be there for you, no matter what.

In some cases, we can even get your case dismissed before it reaches the court stage.

Would you like to discuss your case before instructing us?

We invite you to connect to us to arrange a thirty-minute no-obligation consultation with our legal team. You’ll be able to ask questions, share your concerns and understand more about what the outcome of any case might be.

You can use our contact form or call us on 0208 888 5225 or in the case of an emergency, call us on 07980 000 076 if you have been arrested or charged. We will represent you at the police station for free.

Get in touch with us now for membership, support or meeting proscribed organisations legal help.

Emergency?

Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.