Published: 13:50, 16 July 2019
| Updated: 16:01, 16 July 2019
Almost 70 years have been added to sentences of criminals tried in Kent courts since 2012.
Statistics released by the Attorney General's Office show offenders whose sentences were challenged under the unduly lenient sentence scheme.
The programme allows victims of crime, members of the public and the Crown Prosecution Service to ask for the time a certain criminal spends behind bars to be reviewed.
If deemed too low by the Attorney General or Solicitor General, the Court of Appeal is asked to review the sentence and may increase it.
Last year, 99 offenders across the country got more time in jail, including two in Kent.
The pair were originally sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court, with St Louis receiving six years and six months’ imprisonment in a young offenders’ institution with an extension period of three years, and Gedi, seven years.
The Court of Appeal increased St Louis’ sentence to nine years with an extension period of three years and Gedi’s to nine years six months.
Another included in the 99 - not tried in Kent but with relations to the county - is Ayesha Hibbert.
The 28-year-old was originally given a 24-month community order from Southampton Crown Court after trying to smuggle drugs into a Kent prison.
She was visiting Swaleside prison when she was spotted handing a package to an inmate, later found to contain £2,400 worth of cannabis.
At the time, she was already on licence for another drug-related offence.
The Court of Appeal increased her sentence to 9 months’ imprisonment.
Only the most serious offences, such as rape, robbery and sexual abuse of children are considered.
In 2017, the scheme was extended to include an additional 19 terror-related offences, including supporting extremist organisations, encouraging acts of terrorism or failing to disclose information about a terrorist attack.
A case must be referred to the Court of Appeal within 28 days of the date of sentencing.
Solicitor general, Lucy Frazer QC MP, said: “The scheme allows prosecutors, victims of crime, their family and the public to ask for a review of certain sentences they believe to be too low.
"Only one application is required for a case to be considered and it is important for us to receive this as early as possible in order to properly consider a case before the 28 day deadline.
“A sentencing exercise is not an exact science and in the vast majority of cases, judges get it right. The scheme is available to ensure that the Court of Appeal can review cases where there may have been a gross error in the sentencing decision.”
More by this authorRebecca Tuffin