A judge had failed to have proper regard to the sentencing guidelines for children and young people when sentencing an 18-year-old for an offence of manslaughter committed when she was 17. The sentence imposed of nine years’ detention did not reflect the age, immaturity and resultant culpability of the offender at the date of the offence, and was reduced to five years’ detention.
The court summarised the general principles to be considered by those representing and those sentencing offenders with mental health problems that might justify a hospital order under the Mental Health Act 1983 s.37 and s.41, a finding of dangerousness and/or a s.45A order.
A sentence of 11 years and 10 months’ imprisonment imposed in 2016 following a guilty plea to a manslaughter offence committed in 2008 was not manifestly excessive. Although sentences for manslaughter offences such as the instant offender’s which involved a knife and gang violence had substantially increased since 2008, there was no untoward effect where the sentencing judge had approached her task in a measured and reflective manner and had correctly applied the current guidelines while staying within the maximum sentence applicable in 2008.
The court reduced, from 11 years to 10 years’ imprisonment, the sentences imposed on the parents of a 17-week-old child following their convictions for causing or allowing her death. Although there were numerous aggravating features, including an attempt to cover up the circumstances of her death, insufficient weight had been given to the finding that the parents had had constructive, rather than actual, knowledge of the significant risk of serious harm to their child.
A judge had not erred in imposing a sentence of life imprisonment upon an offender who pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility, rather than hospital and restriction orders under the Mental Health Act 1983 s.37 and s.41. Although fresh evidence had been produced, to the effect that the offender had been suffering from schizophrenia at the time of the offence, that evidence did not establish that the offending was entirely due to mental disorder. Even on the basis of the fresh evidence, the judge could not have concluded that the most suitable method of disposing of the case was by way of a s.37 order.