CONSPIRACY

An extended sentence of 18 years and five months, which included a custodial term of 13 years and five months, was appropriate in the case of the appellant, who had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob and to three offences of having an imitation firearm with intent.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1151

The judge’s summing-up, in a trial of three defendants on a charge of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, was not unfair.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1007

A sentence of 45 months’ imprisonment after an offender’s guilty plea to 13 distraction burglaries targeting elderly and vulnerable victims was unduly lenient. The judge should have applied a 10-year starting point before making a deduction for the guilty pleas, resulting in a sentence of 7 years and 6 months’ imprisonment.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1256

It was appropriate to replace a sentence of imprisonment for public protection which had been imposed on the applicant in 2011 following his conviction for conspiracy to rob with a determinate sentence of 16 years’ imprisonment.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1214

A sentence of three years’ imprisonment was appropriate for perverting the course of justice by destroying a vehicle in which a driver had fatally struck a pedestrian and left the scene. Another person’s action of collecting the driver from his abandoned vehicle and taking him home had a less dramatic effect on the course of justice and a sentence of 16 months’ imprisonment was appropriate for his involvement. The underlying offence of causing death by dangerous driving was very serious and both had intended to achieve the aim of the driver avoiding facing responsibility for his criminal actions.

[2017] EWCA Crim 814

Minimum terms of 29 and 26 years’ imprisonment for murder committed by two 22-year-old offenders were not manifestly excessive where they had subjected the victim to a brutal attack in his own home. The lengthier term for one offender reflected the further aggravating factor of his guilty plea to perverting the course of justice, his previous convictions and lack of remorse. It was also relevant that the offenders had conspired to rob the victim, for which they received concurrent sentences of 13 years.

[2017] EWCA Crim 834

Life sentences with a total minimum term of 23 years were imposed on offenders who had tortured a couple in their 60s in order to force them to hand over a large quantity of cash and had later shot a man in the head in a conspiracy to kill him.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1353

A total sentence of 14 years’ imprisonment was reduced to 11 years for an offender, described as the head of an organised crime group, who had pleaded guilty to separate conspiracies to supply class B drugs through a large-scale distribution network. The sentencing judge had erred when considering the issue of totality of sentence for conspiracies which, although substantial, in effect ran concurrently and involved class B drugs.

[2017] EWCA Crim 840

A sentence of six months’ detention in a young offender institution was quashed and replaced by 12 weeks’ detention, following a guilty plea to conspiracy to damage property, being graffiti damage to trains, rolling stock and train infrastructure. The offender had been aged between 13 and 17 at the time of the offences, showed genuine remorse and had no previous convictions.

[2017] EWCA Crim 676

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

The court considered the appropriate length of sentences for eight defendants following their high level involvement in a conspiracy to supply large quantities of controlled drugs. It considered the inferences made by the trial judge from the evidence as to the scale of the drug trafficking.

[2017] EWCA Crim 558

It was not inherently and necessarily unfair, so as to constitute an abuse of process, for an international criminal to face prosecution in more than one state. If, on a proper analysis of the facts, there was no double criminality, and no agreement between the states concerned that there should be one prosecution in relation to all the criminality, then there was no reason in principle to view a second prosecution, by a different state, as necessarily unfair.

[2017] EWHC 513 (Admin)

A woman who allowed her adult son to kill a vulnerable adult who lodged in their house, and then conspired to pervert the course of justice, had her sentence of eight years’ imprisonment increased to 10 years, because she should have received a consecutive sentence for the conspiracy, which was not merely parasitic on the main offence but amounted to serious additional criminality. Her son’s girlfriend also had her sentence increased for the same offences.

[2017] EWCA Crim 559

A judge was entitled to increase a sentence under the slip rule pursuant to the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 where the original sentence had been based on a factual error and where the Attorney General had subsequently indicated that he would refer the sentence as unduly lenient to the Court of Appeal, even though the judge had, on being told of the error, initially stated that he would not alter it. A sentence of eight years and six months’ imprisonment imposed following a guilty plea to conspiracy to commit robbery was not manifestly excessive.

The court set out the correct law in relation to the application of the slip rule under the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 s.155. After imposing a sentence on the basis of a factual error, a judge had been entitled to increase the sentence under the slip rule despite initially indicating that he would not do so. An indication by the Attorney General that he intended to refer the sentence to the Court of Appeal as unduly lenient was a relevant consideration.

[2017] EWCA Crim 226

Fresh evidence revealed that the activation of a suspended sentence for breach of probation had been premature. The offender had been in hiding for fear of reprisals and attending voluntary drug rehabilitation rather than deliberately failing to comply with the terms of the suspended sentence.

[2017] EWCA Crim 473

A sentence of six-and-a-half years’ imprisonment, following guilty pleas to conspiracy to possess a prohibited weapon for sale or transfer, possession of a prohibited weapon, possession of criminal property and possession of ammunition without a firearms certificate, was increased to eight-a-half years. Deterrent sentencing was required for a conspiracy that involved two working firearms and ammunition, in line with guidance from the Court of Appeal.

A judge had been entitled to conclude that an individual had not been enticed or lured by an undercover police officer to conspire to commit aggravated trespass and/or criminal damage, and that his arrest had been lawful.

[2017] EWCA Civ 86

Sentences imposed on three offenders for conspiracy falsely to imprison were unduly lenient and would be quashed. The judge’s starting point of eight years’ imprisonment was too low, given the level of violence, threat and degradation involved in the offences, and the detention of the victim in a private flat where help was ruled out.

[2017] EWCA Crim 339

A sentence of four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment was appropriate for the offence of conspiracy to facilitate breach of immigration control where the individual had pleaded guilty, his involvement had been for a very short period, was peripheral and he had not stood to make any financial gain.

[2017] EWCA Crim 695

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 total sentence of nine and a half years’ imprisonment for four offences of conspiracy to supply class A drugs, committed over two separate periods and sentenced in non-chronological order, and one offence of taking class B drugs into a prison as a visitor was reduced to eight and a half years, as the judge had failed to give the offender sufficient discount when assessing his overall culpability.

[2017] EWCA Crim 67

A judge was entitled to pass an indeterminate sentence for public protection in the exceptional case of an offender who had been convicted of conspiracy to rob where there was evidence that he was highly dangerous and posed a significant risk of serious harm to the public.

[2017] EWCA Crim 202

An offender had not made out his case that his conviction for conspiring to traffic in cocaine was rendered unsafe by the prosecution’s failure to disclose certain material. The material in question had no relevance to the issues in the case.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1898

A judge at a Newton hearing determining whether an individual had been involved in another robbery, beyond those he had admitted to, had been entitled to admit identification evidence from a police officer despite the officer’s failure to take contemporaneous notes. It was not mandatory to exclude his evidence on that basis, and he had submitted a witness statement and been cross-examined on it at the Newton hearing.

The Court of Appeal set out the correct approach to the sentencing guideline for Fraud, Bribery and Money Laundering Offences. Where offences were charged as a conspiracy and the actual loss did not reflect the intended loss from the conspiracy as a whole, sentencing judges were entitled to move the case up to the corresponding point in the category above the level of harm which had been quantified.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1948

An accusation European arrest warrant had not met the requirements of the Extradition Act 2003 s.2(4)(c) as it was not possible for the requested person to know the degree of participation he was alleged to have had in the 21 offences mentioned.

[2016] EWHC 3518 (Admin)

In terms of establishing a defence of duress, whether the relevant threat had been conveyed to the defendant directly or indirectly was just one factor to be taken into account. There was nothing to preclude reliance on an indirectly conveyed threat, but the more directly the threat was conveyed, the more it would be capable of constituting duress.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1794

When sentencing an offender for conspiracy to supply just over 75kg opium, the judge had been entitled to use a dividing figure of opium to heroin of 8, so that the equivalent quantity of heroin for the 75kg of opium was 9.5kg.

[2016] EWCA Crim 2123

An offender sentenced to life imprisonment after an improvised explosive device he had made killed a US soldier in Iraq, had his minimum term reduced from 38 years to 35 years. The reduction reflected the fact that he had played a lesser role in the bomb-making process and his actions had partly been designed to protect the Sunni community from the Shiite militia. However, the offender’s application under the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 s.23 to admit evidence from two witnesses whose names would only be disclosed to the prosecution within a tightly confined confidentiality ring, as part of his appeal against conviction, was rejected.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1616

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 sentence of 30 months’ imprisonment was appropriate and not manifestly excessive for a manager of premises already found guilty of substantial tax evasion who had allowed them to be used for the farming of cannabis and had had a considerable role in overseeing the activities. The amount of cannabis was over 40 kilos, the conspiracy in which he was involved was on a large scale and other defendants had been merely gardeners.

A sentence of five years and eight months in a young offender institute, following guilty pleas to two charges of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, two charges of having an article with a point or blade and one charge of having a firearm in a public place, was increased to seven years and eight months to mark the seriousness of the separate weapons offences, where the judge had dealt with them as aggravating the drugs offences, rather than as separate offences.

[2016] EWCA Crim 2091

A conviction for conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin was safe despite the fact that the Crown had not disclosed the limited bases of the guilty pleas of four of the co-defendants. The Crown had relied on some contact between the appellant and the co-defendants notwithstanding their accepted bases of plea that they were not involved. However, there was such an additional weight of evidence pointing to the guilt of the appellant that the court had no doubt that her conviction was safe.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1954

The appropriate sentences for four offenders who had pleaded guilty to conspiring to produce cannabis in a lengthy and sophisticated conspiracy ranged between three years’ and two years and three months’ imprisonment, taking into account the relevant aggravating and mitigating factors.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1678

A conviction for murder was not arguably unsafe where, although a clear cause of death could not be ascertained, the issue of causation was left to the jury. Leave was granted to amend the grounds of appeal to deal with the way in which the question of causation was left to the jury.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1456

A sentence of 11 years’ imprisonment was appropriate in the case of the appellant, who had pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply cocaine.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1283

The court confirmed the correct approach to the admissibility of a third party’s conviction under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 s.74. The admission of such evidence would often raise difficulties for the defence, but the key factor was not whether it created difficulty but whether it created unfairness. It remained a fair and proper approach where there was no doubt that an offence had been committed and the only question was whether the present defendants had been party to it.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1048

In a prosecution brought by the Serious Fraud Office against a company for alleged corruption/bribery, a judge had erred in allowing a defence application under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 s.78 to exclude from evidence diary entries made by a “directing mind” of the company who was not a party to the proceedings. The judge had applied both the identification principle and the “three-pronged acts or declarations test”, when only the former was relevant.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1469

A judge had not erred in refusing to sever an indictment where during an aborted drug deal the appellant had been the victim of a kidnap by his co-defendants and following the deal he was the perpetrator of a kidnap of an associate. The indictments had been properly joined, as evidence in one kidnap was very likely to be referred to in the course of evidence about the other, and a single jury was in the best position to try both sets of charges.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1797

Sentences imposed on six offenders for conspiracy to rob were unduly lenient. They had pleaded guilty to 13 robberies and attempted robberies of security guards carrying cash in transit. The judge had erred in concluding that their offences were not professionally planned commercial robberies under the terms of the sentencing guideline on robbery. The starting point should therefore have been between six and 11 years’ imprisonment.

[2016] EWCA Crim 750

The nature and content of a judge’s summing up did not render an offender’s conviction for conspiracy fraudulently to evade the prohibition on the importation of cocaine unsafe; the judge had approached the evidence correctly, had identified the issues the jury had to resolve and had identified the alleged weaknesses in the prosecution case with sufficient specificity.

[2016] EWCA Crim 2072

A sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment was appropriate in the case of the appellant following his pleas of guilty to a number of drug offences. He was entitled to a significant discount for giving evidence against men who had kidnapped and attempted to kill him.

[2016] EWCA Crim 873

A jury had been entitled to draw an adverse inference under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 s.34(1) where an offender had refused to answer questions after being arrested for conspiracy to murder but was eventually tried for soliciting murder. The offender would have been asked the same questions at interview for both offences and it was extremely likely that he would have failed to mention facts at interview in either case.

A judge who imposed life sentences on three offenders following their convictions for conspiracy to murder had erred in failing to provide specific reasons for departing from the normal rule that the minimum term to be served should not exceed half the notional determinate sentence.

[2016] EWCA Crim 474

For the purposes of criminal conspiracy, the exception in the Criminal Law Act 1977 s.2(2), which provided an exemption to guilt in a conspiracy where the only conspirators involved were a spouse or civil partner, extended to the position of a wife in a polygamous marriage which was valid under the law of the place of celebration and which was not regarded as void under English law under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 s.11 or otherwise.

[2016] EWCA Crim 560

The decisions in R. v Wiggins (Jamie Mark) (2001) 165 J.P. 210 and R. v Bradshaw unreported did not mean that the court would invariably exercise its discretion never to disqualify someone from driving and impose an extended test if they had been a passenger. Those cases had turned on their particular facts; an extended test could be imposed in an appropriate case.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1746

The same facts which would have been used to support the inference of mens rea before the decision in R. v Jogee (Ameen Hassan) [2016] UKSC 8 would equally be used post-Jogee. What had changed was the articulation of the mens rea.

[2016] EWCA Crim 551

Looking at the totality of the evidence against a defendant accused of conspiracy to commit fraud, the circumstantial evidence was unable to bear the weight of a conviction. A co-accused’s sentence of five-and-a-half years’ imprisonment was reduced to four-and-a-half years where the judge had set the starting point too high.

[2016] EWCA Crim 718