The drinking of alcohol to excess by a pregnant woman in the knowledge that it would harm her unborn child did not amount to the criminal offence of inflicting grievous bodily harm by administering a noxious substance to any other person contrary to the Offences against the Person Act 1861 s.23 so as to entitle the born child to criminal compensation as the victim of a violent crime. A foetus was not to be regarded as a separate legal person and, except under statute, could not be the victim of a crime of violence. Consequently, an unborn child could not constitute “any other person” within s.23.
The judge had been entitled to take what was a merciful course in imposing a sentence of six months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, on the appellant, who had pleaded guilty to maliciously administering poison after putting amphetamine into the drinks of two workmates who had been bullying him.
Offenders who threw acid in the faces of shop-workers while in the course of stealing from shops should expect to receive severe sentences, the purpose of which was not only to punish them but also to deter others.
A judge had been correct to follow the guidance in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 Sch.21 para.5 in sentencing an offender to 30 years’ imprisonment for the attempted murder of her husband by the administration of antifreeze.
Convictions for manslaughter and escape were quashed where there had been recent clarification of the law in relation to both offences and the appellants had pleaded guilty on what had emerged to be a fallacious basis.