ACTUAL BODILY HARM

A total sentence of 20 months’ imprisonment was appropriate for an offender who pleaded guilty to three counts of assault with intent to resist arrest and two of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, arising out of separate events. One of the actual bodily harm offences involved driving a vehicle at the victim; such reckless driving warranted an 11-month disqualification from driving.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1192

The court emphasised the importance of sentencing judges delivering their sentencing remarks in open court. Transparency in the working of the criminal justice system was integral to the maintenance of public confidence in that system.

[2017] EWCA Crim 618

Sentences of seven years’ detention were appropriate in the case of two young offenders who had pleaded guilty to wounding with intent and assault occasioning actual bodily harm after launching a sustained and brutal attack on two gay men.

[2017] EWCA Crim 452

Deficiencies in a judge’s legal directions to the jury, taken cumulatively with the absence of a structured route to verdict as well as other failures in his summing-up, were such as to render three convictions for joint enterprise robbery unsafe.

[2017] EWCA Crim 167

A starting point of three years’ imprisonment was appropriate for an offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm where an offender, with numerous previous convictions for violence, had struck a heavy blow to the victim’s head, causing loss of consciousness.

[2017] EWCA Crim 161

A sentence of three years and four months’ imprisonment was appropriate in the case of the appellant, who had pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm after attacking two nurses while he was in hospital.

[2017] EWCA Crim 218

A four-month prison sentence was unduly lenient for an assault by an escaping dwelling-house burglar who had driven a car at a police officer attempting to arrest him and caused injury, albeit without intent, and a sentence of 14 months was substituted. A sentence of 20 months’ imprisonment had been lenient but not unduly so for the burglary itself despite the offender having two previous such convictions, as his circumstances would have made it unjust to impose the minimum three-year term.

[2017] EWCA Crim 103

The court quashed a prohibited activity requirement preventing an offender from entering licensed premises for six months following a conviction for assault occasioning actual bodily harm where the judge had failed to consult with the probation service as required by the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.203(2) and alcohol had played no part in the offence or in the offender’s history such as to justify such a requirement.

A report of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, concluding that it was not appropriate to refer to the DPP allegations that two police officers had caused actual bodily harm when arresting a man, had been rational and lawful.

Custodial sentences of two years’ detention and 16 months’ detention were merited for two young offenders convicted of possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, contrary to the Firearms Act 1968 s.16A. The offences were aggravated by being premeditated, being committed in public; and the fact that the offenders had acted in a group.

[2016] EWCA Crim 2022

A sentence of four years’ imprisonment was appropriate for attempted robbery where the offender had carried out a sustained attack on a taxi driver at night, stopping only when the victim pressed a panic button. The offender had several previous convictions for violent offences and was under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1783

A sentence of two years’ imprisonment, following guilty pleas to burglary, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and two charges of criminal damage, was increased to three years where significant violence had been used towards the victim during a burglary in his home.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1590

A conviction for assault occasioning actual bodily harm was not unsafe despite the fact that the complainant had made three references to the accused’s previous convictions. The judge had correctly focused on the proper questions and the justice of the trial and had given a short and appropriate direction to the jury to ignore her references.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1559

The Parole Board had applied the presumption in favour of release in its refusal to direct a prisoner’s re-release after his recall for breaching his licence conditions. It had been rational for the board to conclude that he posed a high risk of serious harm to his ex-partner as that assessment of risk had been based on a significant number of elements.

[2016] EWHC 2178 (Admin)

A sentence of two years’ detention for each of two offences of assault to run consecutively was not manifestly excessive where the offences had involved repeated assaults of the offender’s girlfriend over a significant period of time using weapons. A sentence of two years’ detention on a count of making a threat to kill was reduced to 12 months since the judge had taken too high a starting point and failed to have sufficient regard to the principle of totality.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1262

The Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.161A and s.161B did not permit the court to order that a surcharge be paid as compensation and so a sentencing judge’s orders to that effect were quashed and replaced with orders that the defendants pay surcharges in the same amount that he had been wrongly ordered to pay as compensation.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1355

Sentences of eight years’ imprisonment were appropriate for each of three offenders who had been involved in the kidnap and assault of two young men in retaliation for a drugs theft. In a planned incident lasting some 90 minutes, the victims were tracked down, restrained, threatened with a hatchet, punched, kicked and stamped upon.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1344

A sentence of three years’ imprisonment, imposed following guilty pleas to five offences of breaching a restraining order and one offence of actual bodily harm, was within the permissible range for an offender with a history of non-compliance with court orders and a bad criminal record who had breached the restraining order within days of release from prison.

The court criticised counsel for failing to take advantage of the slip rule provisions in the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 s.155. The instant appeal was heard within the 56-day period within which the slip rule could have been invoked and, whilst the need for an appeal might not have been obviated, the sentencing judge would have had the chance to reconsider the appropriate sentence.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1317

The appellant’s conviction for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, committed against a neighbour, was not rendered unsafe by the trial judge’s refusal to allow him to adduce evidence of the neighbour’s bad character in the form of allegations that the neighbour had a history of threatening behaviour towards him. All of the material relied on amounted to unsubstantiated allegations about matters which had not been proven against the neighbour.

[2016] EWCA Crim 839

An offender’s conviction for assault occasioning actual bodily harm was safe notwithstanding deficiencies in the advice given by trial counsel leading to his decision not to give evidence; he had advanced a positive case of self-defence and a full self-defence direction had been given.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1054

A suspended sentence of nine months’ imprisonment, with an unpaid work requirement of 250 hours, along with a six-month curfew and 18 months’ supervision, was upheld where the defendant had pleaded guilty to actual bodily harm after attacking his former girlfriend. However, the Crown Court judge had not had the power to revoke unpaid work requirements in an earlier suspended sentence imposed by a magistrates’ court.

[2015] EWCA Crim 2244

Failures in pre-trial investigation procedure did not affect the safety of the conviction of soldiers found guilty of kidnapping, sexual assault, theft and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The points raised had been put in such broad terms that it was impossible to gauge whether they contained any argument of merit, and they failed to reveal any persuasive reasons for concluding that the convictions were unsafe.

[2015] EWCA Crim 1566

A sentence of two years’ imprisonment imposed for assault occasioning actual bodily harm during a football match was reduced to nine months imprisonment, and a £5,000 compensation order was quashed, as only one blow had been delivered to the victim and the sentencing judge had made inadequate investigation as to the defendant’s means.

A total sentence of 28 years’ imprisonment following guilty pleas to murder and two counts of assault causing actual bodily harm was reduced to 25 years’ where a judge had failed to have sufficient regard to the principle of totality.

Convictions for assault occasioning actual bodily harm were unsafe in circumstances where due process had not been followed prior to the admission of hearsay evidence.

It was appropriate to reduce a sentence of five years’ imprisonment imposed on an offender for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and to reduce a sentence of two years and eight months’ imprisonment imposed on his co-accused for aiding and abetting that offence, where the two had been involved in an incident during which a young female’s head and eyebrows had been shaved while she was intoxicated. The sentences imposed were manifestly excessive and were reduced to sentences of four years and two years respectively.

[2015] NICA 40

A total sentence of 29 months’ imprisonment imposed on an offender, comprising 13 months for attempted assault occasioning actual bodily harm and 16 months for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, was not unduly lenient. Given the failings in the way the case had been presented to the judge, no complaint could be made about the sentence imposed for the attempted assault, and the conspiracy to pervert the course of justice had only had limited effect.

[2015] EWCA Crim 822

A judge’s failure to direct a jury that it should consider whether a young woman, only partly dressed at night time, had been entitled to use reasonable force to eject a drunken man from her bedroom while staying overnight at a friend’s house, rendered the woman’s conviction for common assault unsafe. A lawful occupier was entitled to use reasonable force in such circumstances.

[2015] EWCA Crim 1646

Three consecutive four-year sentences of imprisonment imposed for three counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, but without discount for totality, was excessive, even though the circumstances were unusual for offences of that nature. The sentences were reduced to a total of nine years’ imprisonment.

[2015] EWCA Crim 395

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s refusal to expunge a caution, given for an offence of actual bodily harm by a mother against her very young daughter, did not breach the mother’s ECHR art.8 rights as it was a serious offence and was relevant information that a future employer should know about.

Where there had been confusion during the jury’s return of verdicts on four counts of an indictment against two co-defendants, and a verdict against a count of kidnap was not formally entered against one defendant, that defendant had not been convicted of kidnap. The court therefore ordered the Crown Court record to be amended accordingly and the defendant’s sentence for kidnap was quashed.

[2014] EWCA Crim 1416

A judge had not failed to direct a jury properly on the burden and standard of proof in relation to offences of false imprisonment, assault occasioning bodily harm and rape where he had effectively directed the jury that they had to make a choice whether to believe the evidence of the complainant or the defendants.

In a case where the defendant had been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, the prosecution having alleged that he had injured the victim with a knife, prejudice had been caused by the late formulation of another possible route to verdict, namely that the injury had been caused with some other implement.

[2014] EWCA Crim 948

Following the coming into force of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.240ZA in December 2012, courts should not ordinarily give any indication as to credit for time spent on remand.

Related Links:

[2014] EWCA Crim 239

A sentence of 10 months’ imprisonment which had been imposed on the appellant following his plea of guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm was far from manifestly excessive; the offence, committed by a man with a history of offending and alcohol abuse, was a very serious one of its kind.

Related Links:

[2013] EWCA Crim 2595

A starting point of over 12 months’ imprisonment for affray was appropriate where, even though the judge had not been aware of the defendant’s basis of plea which maintained self-defence, the serious consequences to the victim could not wholly be set aside. It was important that a defendant had his basis of plea in writing so that the Crown and the judge were aware of what he was prepared to admit.

In a trial in which the defendant faced charges of assault and affray following a confrontation with a group of plumbers over a missing laptop, the judge had not erred in refusing applications to adduce bad character evidence in relation to two of the plumbers. Although the evidence was potentially relevant in determining the aggressor, it lacked probative value.

[2013] EWCA Crim 2312

A judge who gave a “rolled up” direction incorporating a Watson direction had been attempting to ensure that the jury understood that their primary duty was to try to reach a unanimous verdict, and that the possibility of a majority verdict, while it existed, would not arise until they had been afforded a significant period of deliberation to assist them to do so. In the circumstances, the use of the Watson formula at that point had not placed the jury under any degree of improper pressure to bring in a verdict.

[2013] NICA 70

Fresh evidence adduced by the appellants cast no doubt on the fairness and safety of their convictions for burglary and aggravated burglary.

[2013] EWCA Crim 2247

A sentence of four years’ imprisonment was justified in the case of an offender who had been convicted of punching his girlfriend a number of times about the face and stomach. The offender’s criminal record, which included violence against women, and the exceptional nature of the attack took the case outside the range of the relevant sentencing guideline.

[2013] EWCA Crim 2163

Although a judge had erred in excluding “bad character” evidence which was to do with the alleged facts of an offence under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.98(a) rather than bad character, that error did not affect the safety of an offender’s conviction for assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

[2013] EWCA Crim 1363

An offender on licence after conviction for sexual offences had been inappropriately sentenced, after a 13-month delay, to a community order for an assault on a police officer while in court. To avoid the risk that any breach of the order would return him to prison, the pragmatic approach in R. v Waters (Matthew Peter) [2008] EWCA Crim 2538 was taken, and a sentence of six-months’ imprisonment was substituted, which with time in custody would result in his immediate release.

[2013] EWCA Crim 1283

A sentence of two years and six months’ imprisonment was appropriate in the case of the appellant, who had pleaded guilty at a late stage to an offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm which had been committed against his long-term partner.

[2013] EWCA Crim 1110

A total sentence of four years and two months’ imprisonment for an offender’s four assaults on his partner properly reflected his criminality and was not manifestly excessive. Where someone was put in constant peril and fear in his own home as a result of repetitive domestic abuse, that was potentially a substantial aggravating factor for sentencing purposes; the aggravation was compounded where the perpetrator was in reality controlling the victim and abusing his position in the home and the victim was, in the domestic context, vulnerable.

[2013] EWCA Crim 924

The fact that the appellant had offered a conditional plea of guilty to an offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm did not justify reducing the sentence of two years’ imprisonment which had been imposed on him; the assault had been vicious and prolonged, and the offence had several aggravating features.

[2013] EWCA Crim 830

When allowing an appeal by the Crown against a Crown Court’s decision to stay an indictment on the basis of autrefois acquit, the Court of Appeal determined that the scope of a plea of autrefois should be narrowly confined to cases where the offences were the same in fact or law.

[2013] EWCA Crim 569

A sentencing judge had erred in failing to alert a young offender to the fact that he was minded to make a finding that he had used a weapon in an assault occasioning actual bodily harm before going on to sentence him, thereby denying the offender the opportunity to address him on the point. In those circumstances, it was appropriate to replace his sentence of nine months’ detention with a suspended sentence of six months’ detention.

[2013] EWCA Crim 1085

An appeal against conviction for murder was dismissed where the trial judge had appropriately directed the jury in response to requests for guidance on the meaning of reasonable doubt. The 26-year minimum term imposed had reflected slightly too much importance placed on the offender’s previous conviction for assault occasioning actual bodily harm committed while on remand and a minimum term of 25 years was substituted.

[2013] EWCA Crim 396

A sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment imposed for an offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm was reduced to 14 months to account for the offender’s early guilty plea, despite the fact that he had admitted the offence only when shown the CCTV footage, which was overwhelming evidence that he had punched a stranger, unprovoked, in the street.

[2013] EWCA Crim 452