BURGLARY

A total sentence of two years and six months’ imprisonment was appropriate following pleas of guilty to burglary and theft of a car. The offender had entered the house of his ex-girlfriend without permission, threatening her with a screwdriver and taking her car keys before stealing her car. The burglary came within Category 1 of the definitive guidelines and was seriously aggravated by the offender’s appalling criminal record and the domestic violence element of the offence.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1398

The Court of Appeal urged greater vigilance by advocates involved in sentencing hearings before the Crown Court. Three convictions for shoplifting were quashed as they were summary-only offences valued at less than £200 and should not have been included in the indictment.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1233

A sentence of eight years’ imprisonment was appropriate in the case of a repeat offender who had been convicted of burglary and theft.

[2017] EWCA Crim 868

Sentences of nine years and four months’ imprisonment/detention were appropriate in the case of three men who had pleaded guilty at a late stage to conspiracy to burgle.

[2017] EWCA Crim 623

A recorder sentencing a burglar who had been caught red-handed had been entitled to rely on a 2007 Sentencing Council publication, which stated that credit for a guilty plea might be reduced to 20% if the prosecution case was overwhelming. The fact that a new draft guideline due to come into force shortly afterwards stated that there should be no reduction of credit in such circumstances did not change things; the recorder was obliged to apply the guideline in force at the relevant time.

[2017] EWCA Crim 506

A sentence of six years’ imprisonment for burglary was appropriate where the offender had used subterfuge to gain the trust of an elderly man on more than one occasion, and had numerous similar previous convictions involving vulnerable victims, which showed an attitude of ingrained recidivism.

A sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment was appropriate following a conviction for manslaughter where an 18-year-old offender had deliberately driven a stolen car at a police officer. The judge had been correct to find that a grave offence of manslaughter had been committed, with a very high degree of culpability. He had not erred in having regard to what the minimum term would have been if the offender had been convicted of murder.

[2017] EWCA Crim 305

In a trial for conspiracy to burgle the house of a firearms licence-holder, the court had been correct to admit evidence of one defendant’s previous convictions as “important explanatory evidence” under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.101(c). The other evidence in the case raised serious questions which required explanation, and the bad character evidence showed that the defendant was a serious criminal who was operating with a gang to commit a series of burglaries in order to acquire the kit necessary to commit robberies.

[2017] EWCA Crim 42

The court considered the hearsay provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, including those under s.121 concerning multiple hearsay, and R. v Twist (Andrew Terence) [2011] EWCA Crim 1143, when refusing renewed applications for permission to appeal against conviction on the basis of inadmissible hearsay evidence. The trial judge had not erred in deciding that, whether or not there were arguable grounds for excluding the evidence, it was admissible in the interests of justice.

[2017] EWCA Crim 340

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

It would be unjust to impose the minimum sentence of three years’ imprisonment for a third domestic burglary, provided for by the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 s.111, where the offender was making good progress in addressing his alcohol abuse, pursuant to a community order with an alcohol treatment requirement imposed in respect of a previous offence.

[2017] EWCA Crim 102

A 12-year sentence following guilty pleas to 20 charges of burglary of unoccupied homes was reduced to 10 years where the judge had given too little weight to the absence of any confrontation or violence used against the victims. A sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment, following guilty pleas to six charges of handling stolen goods, was reduced to thirteen-and-a-half months, where the judge had put the offences in the wrong sentencing category.

The prosecution had been guilty of non-disclosure during the appellant’s trial on charges of burglary, aggravated burglary and causing grievous bodily harm with intent; however, the non-disclosure did not undermine the safety of his conviction.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1743

A starting point of four and a half years for a non-domestic burglary could not be criticised where it had involved planning and sophistication and the offender had an appalling criminal record. Applying a one-third discount for the offender’s guilty plea, a sentence of three years’ imprisonment was not manifestly excessive.

The court applied the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 s.35A and s.35B, which had been overlooked by the sentencing judge, and adjusted a sentence imposed on an offender for burglary, dangerous driving and driving whilst disqualified.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1818

A judge had failed when sentencing seven offenders for multiple conspiracies to rob to make a sufficient increase in the total sentences imposed to reflect the nature and extent of the offending.

[2016] EWCA Crim 2214

A starting point of 10 years’ imprisonment was appropriate for a group of offenders who carried out a planned attack which involved kidnapping and falsely imprisoning a victim. The incident lasted for 10 hours and the offenders physically attacked the victim and used weapons, including a crowbar and a knuckleduster. They also demanded money and threatened to kill her.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1780

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 total sentence of two years and eight months’ imprisonment where an offender had pleaded guilty to two offences of attempted burglary was manifestly excessive and reduced to two years’ imprisonment. Although the offender had a long list of previous convictions, the four-year starting point taken by the judge had not been proportionate.

Sentences of four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment and 33 months’ detention were appropriate in the case of two young men with poor criminal records who had been convicted of burglary.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1408

A sentence of three years’ imprisonment following a guilty plea to burglary, whilst severe, was not manifestly excessive where there were substantial aggravating features and the evidence against the offender was overwhelming. The offender had entered a house at night when the occupants, a mother and her autistic son, were upstairs and had taken property including a television.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1084

An offence of burglary fell into category 2 of the sentencing guideline for domestic burglary as a case involving greater harm and lower culpability where the offender had been suffering drug-induced psychosis at the time of the offence. That factor was to be taken into consideration as a mental disorder indicating lower culpability.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1226

A sentence of 33 months’ imprisonment following a guilty plea to robbery at the earliest opportunity was reduced to one of 876 days’ imprisonment, which equated to three years’ imprisonment less a discount of 20%, where the judge had afforded the offender an insufficient discount for his plea.

A five-year serious crime prevention order was justified, subject to a minor modification, in the case of an offender who had received an eight-year sentence after pleading guilty to five offences of burglary of commercial premises that had involved significant planning.

A total sentence of four years and nine months’ imprisonment, including three years and six months for two offences of domestic burglary, an attempted burglary and going equipped, was not excessive for a persistent offender who had served nine prison sentences and in respect of whom the courts had more recently tried forms of disposal other than an immediate custodial sentence.

[2016] EWCA Crim 644

A judge had been entitled to impose an immediate 14-month custodial sentence where an offender had pleaded guilty to offences of burglary, taking motor vehicles without consent, and driving under the influence of drugs. There had been no need to adjourn sentencing pending the preparation of an addendum pre-sentence report on the appropriateness of a community-based order, as it was highly unlikely that such a report would have made any difference.

An appeal against a conviction for possession of cannabis was allowed where the indictment had been wrongly joined to an indictment for burglary. Since the defect had not been identified during the course of the trial, it had not been possible to make an order for amendment pursuant to the Indictments Act (Northern Ireland) 1945 s.5 and the conviction could not stand.

[2016] NICA 10

In a burglary case, the judge had been entitled to admit evidence from a police officer who claimed to recognise the defendant in photographs taken by a CCTV camera at one of the burgled properties.

[2016] EWCA Crim 246

A total sentence of 11 years instead of 13 years was more appropriate for an offence of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and an offence of burglary. Although the offences were serious, the sentence was excessive having regard to all the circumstances.

A sentence of 40 months’ imprisonment imposed on an offender following his guilty plea to a domestic burglary was reduced to 31 months’ imprisonment where the judge had taken a starting point which did not accord with the relevant sentencing guidelines.

[2016] EWCA Crim 282

A district judge had not been wrong to order the extradition of a requested person who had committed a burglary and stolen items of little value when he was 15-years-old to raise money for his family to eat. Although extradition would cause hardship and distress, the family’s circumstances did not outweigh the public interest in extradition.

Applying the guidance in R v Andrews [2013] 2 Cr App R 5, a starting point of three years’ imprisonment was appropriate in the case of a prolific burglar who was being sentenced under the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 s.111 for a sneak dwelling-house burglary in which nothing had been stolen or damaged and the householders were not disturbed.

[2016] EWCA Crim 466

A sentence of 12 months’ imprisonment following guilty pleas to burglary and attempted burglary was increased to three years and seven months’ as the judge had departed from the mandatory minimum three-year sentence for a third dwelling house burglary without sufficient cause.

A sentence of two months’ imprisonment imposed following a guilty plea to theft was appropriate where the offender had committed a number of thefts from a clothes bank outside a hospice charity shop.

[2015] EWCA Crim 2462

18-year extended sentences imposed on two offenders following convictions for conspiracy to rob sub-post offices and cash-in-transit deliveries, conspiracy to burgle commercial premises, robbery of a public house at night, and possession of a prohibited weapon and ammunition, were increased to 23-year extended sentences to reflect the overall criminality of the offending, which comprised a discrete series of different serious offences affecting different victims or potential victims on different occasions over a number of months.

[2015] EWCA Crim 2253

A starting point of 23 years in sentencing five offenders who had conspired to explode cash dispensers by igniting a mixture of gases was somewhat higher than was necessary or appropriate. An appropriate starting point would have been 20 years.

[2015] EWCA Crim 2525

A sentence of four years and eight months’ imprisonment was upheld for an offence of burglary where the offender, together with others, had used a stolen vehicle to ram-raid a car dealership and attempted to take a cash machine. The starting point of seven years was appropriate in light of the seriousness of the offence, and the offender’s previous convictions meant that lesser sentences imposed on his co-defendants were not unreasonable.

[2015] EWCA Crim 2297

Concurrent sentences of 40 months’ imprisonment, imposed after an offender’s guilty plea to four burglaries of schools and commercial premises, were too high despite his lengthy criminal record. An appropriate sentence was 32 months’ imprisonment.

[2015] EWCA Crim 2256

A four-year sentence of imprisonment for burglary imposed on a defendant who had been addicted to crack cocaine and diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia was set aside and replaced with a hospital order under the Mental Health Act 1983 s.37.

[2015] EWCA Crim 1955

A judge had been correct to conclude that a burglary fell at the top of category 1 of the sentencing guidelines where the offender had ransacked a home over several days, broken through the roof in an attempt to escape police, and thrown roof tiles at cars below. A sentence of five-years-and-four-months’ imprisonment imposed after a late guilty plea, along with the activation of a 12-month suspended sentence, ordered to run consecutively, was not manifestly excessive.

[2015] EWCA Crim 1760

Orders requiring an offender to repay monies she had stolen from her former employer’s safe and to pay £2,000 towards the costs of the prosecution were upheld. However, the monthly repayment amounts required were reduced in light of her financial circumstances.

[2015] EWCA Crim 1876

A conviction for theft was unsafe and was quashed as, in the circumstances. it had not been possible for the jury to have returned different verdicts against the accused and his co- accused in relation to burglary and theft.

[2015] EWCA Crim 1514

A total sentence of 12 years and 6 months’ imprisonment imposed for conspiracy to commit a burglary and conspiracy to commit a robbery was reduced to 10 years’ imprisonment where the judge had failed to give sufficient weight to the totality of the sentence.

An eight-year custodial sentence following a guilty plea to two counts of domestic burglary was not excessive where the appellant had a history of routinely targeting elderly and vulnerable people; breaking into their properties while they were at home, and being prepared to use force against them. Those factors justified a sentence well beyond the three-year starting point and outside the usual sentencing range of two to six years.

[2015] EWCA Crim 1382

The mandatory minimum term of three years’ imprisonment for a third offence of domestic burglary under the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 s.111 was not the starting point. A starting point of six years’ imprisonment had been appropriate for a criminal spree involving burglaries committed while some elderly victims were at home.

[2015] EWCA Crim 2351

A trial judge had correctly admitted into evidence a defendant’s previous conviction for a burglary carried out in very similar circumstances in which ducting tape with traces of the defendant’s DNA had also been found at the burglary scene. The DNA evidence in conjunction with other evidence against the defendant was very compelling, such that a proper case had been presented to the jury.

[2015] EWCA Crim 997

A judge had taken the correct approach to a European arrest warrant, which sought the return of an offender to the Czech Republic to serve a 12-month sentence for forcible entry into a dwelling house and theft, by considering that as a whole the conduct described in the warrant would be charged in the UK as one continuing offence of burglary and therefore amounted to an extradition offence.

[2015] EWHC 436 (Admin)

A minimum three-year term imposed for a third domestic burglary was reduced as the offence had only come to light due to admissions by the offender while serving another sentence for similar offences, and the judge had intended the original release date to remain unaffected. It was therefore unjust to impose the minimum term.

[2014] EWCA Crim 3056

A judge had not erred in a trial for conspiracy to burgle by allowing the prosecution to adduce hearsay evidence through statements written by the relatives of elderly victims under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.116 where one victim had died before trial and four others were unfit to testify because of their infirmities.

[2014] EWCA Crim 2957

The Northern Ireland Court of Appeal reiterated the approach set out in R. v McKeown (Gary) [2013] NICA 28, namely that although assistance might be derived from the aggravating and mitigating features identified by the England and Wales Sentencing Guidelines Council in its definitive guidance, judges and practitioners in Northern Ireland were not constrained by those guidelines.

[2014] NICA 61