The conviction of a Syrian refugee for possessing a false document (a passport) with improper intention was rendered unsafe by the fact that his guilty plea was equivocal and by counsel’s failure to properly advise him about the defence available to refugees in the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 s.31.
A sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, imposed on an offender following his guilty plea to an offence of possessing heroin with intent to supply was unduly lenient. However, the court declined to interfere with the sentence given that the offender was making significant progress in combating his own drug addiction.
Where an offender had distributed an indecent photograph of a girl under the age of 18 contrary to the Protection of Children Act 1978 s.1(1)(b), but it was unclear if the girl was under 16, a notification requirement should not have been imposed on him. He had not been convicted of an offence listed within the Sexual Offences Act 2003 Sch.3, which was necessary to impose a notification requirement. There was a clear discrepancy between those provisions, and the court would have to be alive to that discrepancy when discharging its duty under the Criminal Procedure Rules and, if necessary, decide whether a child’s exact age could be resolved.
A total sentence of seven years and eight months’ detention was appropriate in the case of a young offender who had pleaded guilty to possessing Class B drugs, a sub-machine gun and compatible ammunition, having been pressured into holding them for a third party. Those who looked after lethal weapons for others had to expect severe sentences.
A sentence of three years’ imprisonment was appropriate for an offender who had pleaded guilty to breaching a sexual offences prevention order. The offender was an entrenched paedophile who had groomed two women, buying Christmas presents for their children and accepting photographs of the children from them. He clearly represented a real and ongoing danger to children. However, it was relevant that the photographs had been given to him rather than him procuring them and that after six weeks he had handed them back to the mother who gave them to him.