ROBBERY

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

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

Sentences of 13 years’ and nine years’ imprisonment were appropriate in the case of two men who had been convicted of manslaughter (one having pleaded guilty) after ambushing a man delivering pizzas and using violence to rob him.

[2017] EWCA Crim 986

In sentencing the appellant for robbery, the judge had erred by only allowing a 20% discount for his guilty plea. Given the stage at which the plea was tendered, the appropriate discount was 25%.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1046

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

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

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

Sentences imposed for robbery, contrary to the Theft Act 1968 s.8(1) and for having an article with a blade or point in a public place, contrary to the Criminal Justice Act 1988 s.139(1), were increased as being unduly lenient where the judge had failed to apply the sentencing guidelines correctly, and given too much credit for guilty pleas.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1354

In the circumstances, the passage of time since the commission of a robbery offence and the requested person’s medical condition took the consequences of his extradition beyond hardship and into the realms of oppression.

A total sentence of seven years’ detention was appropriate where a 17-year-old young offender had pleaded guilty to the rape of a 12-year-old family friend and an offence of robbery.

[2017] EWCA Crim 612

A sentence of six years’ imprisonment was appropriate for an offender convicted of a robbery of a small shop with two accomplices, involving use of a firearm to threaten the shopkeeper.

[2017] EWCA Crim 470

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

Although an individual had been a victim of trafficking he had been a fugitive facing a robbery charge when he left Lithuania. Although he developed mental health problems there was no suggestion he was unable to resist the impulse to commit suicide. It was not unjust or oppressive to extradite him.

[2017] EWHC 336 (Admin)

Convictions for robbery and murder were not rendered unsafe by the admission into evidence of a co-accused’s guilty plea. The Court of Appeal also considered the impact on the convictions of the decision in R. v Jogee (Ameen Hassan) [2016] UKSC 8 in relation to the issue of joint enterprise.

[2017] EWCA Crim 268

There was no evidential or legal principle which prevented a jury from considering a case which depended solely on the presence of the defendant’s DNA profile on an article left at the scene of a crime.

[2017] EWCA Crim 40

Deficiencies in a judge’s legal directions to the jury, taken cumulatively with the absence of a structured route to verdict as well as other failures in his summing-up, were such as to render three convictions for joint enterprise robbery unsafe.

[2017] EWCA Crim 167

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

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.

A one-year sentence following a guilty plea to threatening a person with a bladed article, imposed consecutively to two robbery offences, was made concurrent where the facts of the offence had been taken into consideration as an aggravating factor of the second robbery.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1930

An informal recognition of a suspect by a police officer from a colleague’s photographs from an unrelated case was different from the formal procedure set out in PACE Code D. A judge had been right to leave the issue of the police officer’s identification evidence for the jury to decide with appropriate directions.

[2016] EWCA Crim 2124

A total sentence of 18 years’ imprisonment, comprising 15 years for rape and three years for the robbery, was reduced to 16 years as the judge had not taken sufficient account of the principle of totality when sentencing the offender for the robbery. The offender had taken the victim at knife point and raped her in an alleyway before demanding money from her; it was not easy to separate the additional harm to the victim.

A total sentence of nine years and nine months’ imprisonment for attempted robbery, having an article with a blade, having an imitation firearm with intent, two offences of robbery and numerous offences of fraud and dishonestly retaining a wrongful credit was quashed and replaced with an extended sentence of 16 years and nine months where the pre-sentence report and offender’s criminal record demanded a finding of dangerousness.

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 judge had erred in finding that an offender’s previous convictions together with aggravating factors lifted the sentence for a category 2C burglary outside the sentencing guideline range.

[2016] EWCA Crim 2084

Where a minor was in custody for police questioning, the law in many countries was that police interviews were to take place in the presence of an “appropriate adult”. The police should inform that person that he was not expected to act simply as an observer. The purpose of an “appropriate adult” was to advise the person being questioned, to assess whether the interview was being conducted properly and fairly, and to facilitate communication. In the instant case, a 17-year-old’s confession to murder was rendered unreliable by the fact that informal and unrecorded interviews had taken place whilst the police had been trying to locate an appropriate adult, who had then not been told his full function.

[2016] UKPC 29

Where an offender had been convicted of supplying a Class A drug and 11 days later of robbery, but had been sentenced seven months later to 46 months for the drugs offence and 32 months for the robbery, the resulting 78-month sentence had offended against the totality principle. The sentence for robbery was reduced by six months.

A sentence of four years’ imprisonment was appropriate for attempted robbery where the offender had carried out a sustained attack on a taxi driver at night, stopping only when the victim pressed a panic button. The offender had several previous convictions for violent offences and was under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1783

Sentences of six years and five-and-a-half years’ imprisonment were appropriate in the case of two offenders who had committed a violent personal robbery in the home of their victim. The offence was committed late at night and in breach of trust, and although the goods stolen were not of a high value when viewed objectively, they were worth a lot to the victim.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1803

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 sentencing judge had erred in deciding, in the interests of totality, to impose four consecutive sentences of imprisonment on an offender without activating a previous suspended sentence. He had been obliged to activate that sentence in full or in part unless it was unjust to do so.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1396

A trial judge had not erred by not repeating the entirety of a hostile witness’s evidence when the jury asked a question in respect of that evidence. The jury had been well aware of the issue in relation to that witness as it had been dealt with in closing speeches and in the judge’s summing up not long before the question had been asked. Whether it was necessary to remind the jury of other aspects of the witness’s evidence was a matter for the judge’s discretion. Even if the remainder of the witness’s evidence should have been repeated, the failure to do so did not affect the safety of the conviction.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1582

A 12-month referral order imposed on a young offender by the youth court following his guilty plea to robbery and threatening another with a knife was quashed as it was so far outside the reasonable range of penalties that it amounted to a manifest error of law. The matter was remitted to the youth court for it to reconsider the sentence.

[2016] EWHC 2047 (QB)

A judge had wrongly categorised a street mugging in the top category for robbery. The mugging had taken place in daylight and the majority of the victim’s lasting medical problems had been pre-existing.

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

A sentence of 10 months’ detention in a young offender institution, following a guilty plea to robbery, was reduced to six months where the judge had failed to take account of the age of the offender, who was 17 at the time of the offence and 18 at the time of sentence.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1261
[2016] EWCA Crim 827

A total sentence of nine months’ imprisonment imposed for offences of attempted robbery and having an article with a blade or point was unduly lenient. However, the offender had reorganised his life since leaving prison and it would not be in the public interest to return him. The court therefore was not prepared to interfere with the sentence.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1159

A judge had been entitled to refuse a submission of no case to answer where adverse inferences had been drawn against an offender in a robbery trial based on CCTV footage of him and an admitted robber. The offender had given a no-comment interview so that there was nothing to refute the CCTV footage, and a reasonable jury could draw the adverse inference of guilt against him.

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

At the appellant’s trial for a joint enterprise robbery the judge had been entitled to admit evidence of a co-accused’s guilty plea. Although there was CCTV footage which showed that only the appellant could have been involved with the co-accused, the plea had not removed the appellant’s defence and, in any event, the jury would not have placed much reliance on it as the evidence against him was overwhelming.

When reviewing a tariff imposed by the secretary of state on a life prisoner for murder, the seriousness of the offences was to be assessed in the context of the guidance in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 Sch.21, while considering the judicial recommendations made at the time of sentencing. The original tariff fixed by the secretary of state should not just be replaced by the judicial recommendation, but in the instant case the seriousness of the offender’s murder offences had already been reflected in the Lord Chief Justice’s recommended tariff.

[2016] EWHC 3533 (Admin)

A two-year suspended sentence imposed following guilty pleas to conspiracy to rob, robbery, and possessing a bladed article was unduly lenient, but the court took no further action. The offender was an immature and mentally challenged young man who had put energy into complying with the requirements imposed under the sentence, including mental health treatment.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1382

A judge who had directed a jury to continue its discussions after he had received a note indicating that it was in deadlock had not erred in failing to ask the jury whether there was a chance of it reaching a verdict. Nor was there anything to indicate that any of the jurors felt under pressure to reach a verdict with which they did not truly agree.

[2016] EWCA Crim 523

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

A judge had been right to exclude hearsay evidence under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.126, as the evidence the defendant sought to admit concerning another man’s confession and subsequent retraction to rapes that the defendant denied committing was already before the jury. The DNA evidence implicating the defendant was overwhelming and there was no doubt that his convictions were safe.

[2016] EWCA Crim 16

The fact that under previous sentencing guidelines a category 1 offence committed by someone aged 15 years and 5 months might have been in category 2 and the sentence a detention and training order or a sentence under the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 s.91 with a lower starting point was not relevant. The current guidelines applied.

Although a sentence of life imprisonment was one of last resort, the case of an offender who was unarguably dangerous, who had been convicted of 11 counts of robbery and 8 of possessing an imitation firearm and who had targeted vulnerable people causing lasting effects on them was exceptional. With the removal of imprisonment for life there was no longer an alternative indeterminate sentence.

Although an overall sentence of 57 months’ imprisonment following a guilty plea for attempted robbery and possessing a mobile telephone in custody was significant, the judge’s approach to sentencing had been appropriate and he had dealt with the aggravating features and the mitigating factors clearly.

[2016] EWCA Crim 263

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