GRIEVOUS BODILY HARM

The appropriate sentence where an offender who had attacked police officers with a hammer had pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent, was life imprisonment with a minimum term of three years, taking into account the offender’ guilty plea, the early release provisions, and the time that he had already spent in custody.

Where four men had attacked another man by punching him and stamping on him, convictions against two of them for causing grievous bodily harm with intent under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 s.18 were quashed and substituted with convictions for causing grievous bodily harm under s.20, as medical evidence not adduced until after trial strongly suggested that a blow from one of the others had caused the victim’s brain injury. The further evidence was demonstrably credible, it had been positively agreed and was highly relevant.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1325

A sentence of eight years’ imprisonment was appropriate in the case of an offender who had pleaded guilty to encouraging or assisting the commission of the offence of causing grievous bodily harm with intent after arranging from prison for two men to be beaten up.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1093

An extended sentence of 19 years, which included a custodial term of 14 years, was appropriate in the case of a 17-year-old youth who had pleaded guilty at a late stage to causing grievous bodily harm with intent and robbery. The defendant had launched unprovoked and very violent attacks on two members of the public.

[2017] EWCA Crim 987

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

Evidence produced after a conviction indicating that the defendant had mental limitations, which meant he had not been afforded any measures for vulnerable defendants before or during his trial, did not make the trial unfair. Although a joint enterprise direction was not compliant with the later case of R v Jogee (2016) UKSC 8, a Jogee-compliant direction would have made no difference as the defendant’s intention could not have been clearer.

A judge had taken too high a starting point for an offence of attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm by driving a car over the legs of a police officer who was lying unconscious on the ground. Eleven-and-a-half years was appropriate, taking into account a 10% credit for a late guilty plea. Although the judge should have spelt it out in clearer terms, it was clear that he had intended to disqualify the offender from driving for 10 years with an extension equivalent to the time he was expected to serve in custody before release on licence, making a total disqualification period of 17 years and 3 months.

[2017] EWCA Crim 626

Where offenders had thrown sulphuric acid into their victim’s face, the trial judge had been correct to admit a text message sent by one of them containing a photo of the acid with the caption “this is the one face melter” as evidence of their intention to use the acid to cause the victim serious harm. The message was not hearsay because, although satisfying the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.115(2), it did not satisfy s.115(3), as there was nothing to make the recipient believe that it would actually be used to melt a face.

[2017] EWCA Crim 533

A six-year extended sentence imposed following a guilty plea to causing grievous bodily harm was unlawful because it exceeded the maximum term that could be imposed for that offence. The appropriate sentence was five years, comprising a four-year custodial term and a one-year period on extended licence.

An application to treat a notice of abandonment as a nullity was granted where the applicant’s counsel had told him that his appeal would have to be abandoned, and his solicitor had signed and submitted the abandonment notice despite the applicant’s objection; the mind of the applicant had not gone with the notice.

A sentence of nine years’ imprisonment following a guilty plea for causing grievous bodily harm with intent was reduced to eight years where the offender had deliberately reversed a car over the victim’s legs, causing very serious injuries. The offender had lived a blameless life until shortly before the incident, accepted full responsibility for her actions and would miss seeing her son grow up whilst she was in custody.

[2017] EWCA Crim 260

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 sentence of life imprisonment for causing grievous bodily harm with intent was quashed and replaced with a hospital order under the Mental Health Act 1983 s.37 and s.41. Fresh expert evidence indicated that the offender was suffering from a personality disorder and mental illness at the time of the offence and a hospital order was appropriate having regard to the interests of the offender and the protection of the public.

[2016] EWCA Crim 2258

A sentence of life imprisonment with a minimum term of 14 years was appropriate following an offender’s convictions for grievous bodily harm and child destruction. The offender had carried out a planned attack on his pregnant girlfriend, after unsuccessfully attempting to persuade her to have an abortion. He had enlisted the help of another man and they had kicked the girlfriend and stamped on her stomach. She had sustained life-threatening injuries and the unborn child had died.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1555

In a trial of counts of affray and attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent arising out of the defendant’s altercation with some police officers, the judge had erred in not leaving the issue of self-defence to the jury.

[2016] EWCA Crim 2230

Medical evidence detailing a baby’s injuries that had been shaken was sufficient to justify advice to an appellant that he caused serious bodily injury to the child and to plead guilty to a charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm. A subsequent acquittal from manslaughter as the jury was satisfied that the shaking had not caused the cerebral injuries leading to the child’s death years later, did not mean that the defence advanced for manslaughter would have been a successful defence to inflicting grievous bodily harm.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1321

An offender’s progress in prison completing courses, jobs, charitable work and acting as a buddy did not amount to exceptional and unforeseen progress such as to justify reducing his minimum term.

[2016] EWHC 2008 (Admin)

The Criminal Procedure Rules 2015 r.25.14(3)(a) required the court to summarise for the jury, to such extent as was necessary, the evidence relevant to the issues they had to decide; however, it was not necessary for the judge to recount all relevant evidence. A conviction for inflicting grievous bodily harm was safe despite the judge’s failure to summarise evidence on causation from a consultant forensic pathologist.

[2016] EWCA Crim 850

Once it had been decided that a sentence had been unduly lenient based on the facts as known to the sentencing judge at the time, it was the appellate court’s responsibility to pass the appropriate sentence, and in doing so it was at the very least open to it to take into account whatever new information had become available since the original sentence was passed.

[2016] EWCA Crim 448

A judge had been fully entitled to reject a submission of no case to answer made by the appellant when he was on trial for conspiracy to rob and to cause grievous bodily harm following a gang-related revenge attack in which one victim received a very serious stab wound. Although the appellant had not been present during the attack, the evidence, which consisted principally of text messaging, was sufficient to show that he had been a party to the conspiracy to rob.

[2016] EWCA Crim 604

An offender who, with another, had prevented a rape victim from calling the police for fear that police involvement would result in loss of their tenancy, had his prison sentence of six years for false imprisonment and a concurrent three years for assault reduced to match that of the co-accused, namely four-and-a-half and two years respectively. The rapist had received an eight-year prison sentence.

The appellant, who had been convicted of murder, would not be permitted to adduce fresh testimony from a witness who had given evidence at his trial which was favourable to the prosecution. The fresh evidence, which appeared to undermine the prosecution case, was not capable of belief.

[2016] EWCA Crim 380

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.

An extended sentence of 15 years was appropriate in the case of the appellant, who had pleaded guilty to robbery, causing grievous bodily harm with intent and other offences after stealing from, and carrying out a serious assault on, an elderly couple in their home.

[2016] EWCA Crim 351

A sentence of imprisonment rather than a hospital order had been appropriate for an offender notwithstanding psychiatric reports made after sentencing that indicated that he had paranoid schizophrenia. Even if evidence were to establish that the offender had been mentally unwell at offence and sentence, it would not follow that a hospital order should inevitably have been made.

[2015] EWCA Crim 2479

The court quashed an indeterminate sentence of imprisonment and replaced it with a hospital order and a restriction order pursuant to the Mental Health Act 1983 s.37 and s.41. Fresh medical evidence showed that the offender was suffering from a longstanding schizophrenic illness that had not been identified at the time of sentencing.

[2015] EWCA Crim 2249

The Crown did not oppose an appeal against conviction for wounding with intent and attempting to cause grievous bodily harm where the victim’s identification of the appellant had been crucial and new evidence suggested that the victim had offered to retract his statement in exchange for money, significantly undermining his evidence.

[2015] EWCA Crim 2110

Sentences of nine years’ imprisonment were appropriate following the convictions of two offenders for causing grievous bodily harm with intent. The offenders had perpetrated a motiveless and sustained attack during which they had repeatedly punched and kicked a prone victim. However, neither had a record of a repeated and escalating pattern of violent offending and the risk that they posed could properly be met by a determinate sentence of an appropriate length rather than an extended sentence.

[2015] EWCA Crim 2090

A conviction for grievous bodily harm with intent was not unsafe on account of insufficient evidence to prove to the required standard that the injuries sustained amounted to “really serious bodily harm”. The victim’s self-reported harm from injuries sustained when he was attacked by the offenders, should not be discounted just because it was not supported by medical evidence.

[2015] EWCA Crim 1484

A sentence of two-and-a-half years’ imprisonment for inflicting grievously bodily harm was not manifestly excessive where the victim had been left partially deaf and the offender had many previous convictions for violence.

A judge had erred in focusing on the risk an offender posed to the public, rather than the seriousness of the offences, when imposing what was in effect a whole life order for multiple counts of rape and further counts of kidnapping and causing grievous bodily harm with intent. The very high test of exceptionality for whole life orders had not been fulfilled but, given the aggravating features of the case, a notional determinate sentence beyond the sentencing guideline range was justified.

[2015] EWCA Crim 883

A young offender’s age was a mitigating factor in sentencing that was not to be cancelled out by adverse findings of fact against that offender. A starting point of three-quarters of the sentence for an adult offender was appropriate for two young offenders convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

[2015] EWCA Crim 11

A sentence of eight-and-a-half years’ imprisonment imposed on one member of a drunken sectarian mob for, among other things, grievous bodily harm with intent would be maintained, but a sentence of three years’ imprisonment imposed on another member of that mob for affray would be reduced to one year’s imprisonment in view of a disparity with the sentence imposed on a co-defendant.

[2014] NICA 74

Although there had been a flawed disclosure exercise before a trial for grievous bodily harm with intent, no prejudice had arisen as a consequence of that.

[2014] EWCA Crim 2528

An alternative verdict of unlawful wounding contrary to the Offences against the Person Act 1861 s.20 should have been left to the jury at a trial for an offence of wounding with intent contrary to s.18 where it had been open to the jury to reject the appellant’s defence of self-defence and the victim’s allegation that she had threatened to kill him.

[2014] EWCA Crim 2176

Applying United Kingdom law on unfitness through drink to a description of conduct in a European arrest warrant, which was the only source of that information, was insufficient to meet the double criminality test in respect of a drink driving charge because nothing had been said about the degree of intoxication. It had not been open to a district judge to conclude that the only inference was that an appellant, at the time he had been driving, was so intoxicated as to be unfit to drive a car.

[2014] EWHC 3226 (Admin)

Sentences of five and six years’ imprisonment imposed on two nightclub bouncers who had conducted a sustained attack on a man while armed with weapons including a knife and a baton were unduly lenient and were each replaced with 10-year sentences of imprisonment.

[2014] EWCA Crim 1727

The power under the Mental Health Act 1983 s.35 to remand an accused to hospital for a report on his mental condition could not be used to enable the Crown to obtain evidence about whether the accused had the intention, or the capacity to form the intention, to commit an offence of grievous bodily harm. The Divisional Court quashed a s.35 order made by the Crown Court, even though the Senior Courts Act 1981 s.29(3) excluded High Court jurisdiction, because the misinterpretation of s.35 was a defect so severe that it deprived the Crown Court of jurisdiction to make the order.

A sentence of three-and-a-half years’ detention was appropriate in the case of a young offender who had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob and been convicted of inflicting grievous bodily harm.

[2014] EWCA Crim 1414

An appellant’s defence of using reasonable force in defence of another had been a live issue that ought to have been put to the jury, so her conviction for unlawfully and maliciously causing grievous bodily harm was quashed. The circumstances of the co-appellant’s offence of causing grievous bodily harm with intent had been properly reflected in a starting point of six years’ imprisonment, so that term was substituted for a seven-year term of imprisonment.

[2014] EWCA Crim 1241

A conviction of inflicting grievous bodily harm contrary to the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 s.20 for infecting his partner with an incurable genital herpes virus was deemed safe, after the consideration of fresh evidence as to whether the appellant’s guilty plea had been fully informed and voluntary.

[2014] EWCA Crim 889

Convictions for attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent in respect of three offenders who had pursued a member of a rival gang and shot at him intending to kill him after he had sought shelter in shop premises, missing him but hitting a young child and a customer, were safe.

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[2014] EWCA Crim 143

A judge had not erred in finding that there was a significant risk to the public from an offender who had been convicted of grievous bodily harm. Although it was unfortunate that the judge had said that the sentence was “required” by law, his general approach to the statutory scheme and his saying that the imposition of an indeterminate sentence was “appropriate” showed that he knew the sentence was not mandatory and had considered less restrictive sentencing options.

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[2014] EWCA Crim 70

Where an offender subject to a suspended sentence for drug offences re-offended within the operational period and was convicted of grievous bodily harm, the fact that the new offence was of a different category from the previous offence was no good ground for objecting to activation of the suspended sentence. The fact that he had complied with supervision requirements attached to the suspended sentence was not sufficient to justify activating only part of it.

[2013] EWCA Crim 2585

The power to admit evidence under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.114(1)(d) was not to be used to circumvent the conditions in s.116.

[2013] EWCA Crim 2320

In a trial for an offence of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm contrary to the Offences against the Person Act 1861 s.18, the judge should have left an alternative count under s.20 to the jury. However, notwithstanding that irregularity, the appellant’s conviction was safe as the jury must have been sure that he had the necessary intent under s.18 as they convicted him of that offence on the evidence.

Convictions for both causing and attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent were safe where a judge had not misdirected or failed to direct a jury appropriately in relation to certain issues.

[2013] EWCA Crim 1849

Where a defendant suffering from an insane delusion that he was being attacked or threatened reacted violently, using force that was reasonable in the circumstances as he perceived them to be, he was not entitled to an acquittal based on self-defence. An insane person could not set the standards of reasonableness as to the degree of force used by reference to his own insanity. The court considered the meaning and effect of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 s.76.

[2013] EWCA Crim 1725

A three-rank demotion of an army officer, imposed for inflicting grievous bodily harm on a fellow officer, was not wrong in principle or manifestly excessive. The fact that the officer had left the army and was no longer exercising command was not a proper basis on which to ask the court to alleviate the financial consequences for his pension by ordering a less severe demotion.

[2013] EWCA Crim 1835

A sentence of 15 months’ imprisonment, comprising 10 months on licence and five months in custody, imposed on an offender for causing death and grievous injury by dangerous driving where she had lost consciousness at the wheel because of a pre-existing medical condition, was unduly lenient. Although the judge had been entitled to take a starting point of three years, which fell outside the guidelines, he was wrong to reduce the starting point to 15 months in consideration of the offender’s personal circumstances.

[2013] NICA 55