SENTENCE LENGTH

A sentence of six years’ imprisonment for gross negligence manslaughter was appropriate where a restaurant owner had persistently failed over several months to take steps to ensure that customers suffering from peanut allergies were not served with food containing peanuts. Even after one customer had suffered a violent allergic reaction, he did not improve his systems, with the consequence that another customer died after suffering an allergic reaction.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1783

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.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1686

A sentence of four years’ imprisonment was appropriate in the case of a 25-year-old gang member who had pleaded guilty to firing an imitation firearm at rival gang members during a street fight. Although gang members had to understand that the use of imitation firearms would be severely punished, the offender’s lack of previous convictions made a longer sentence inappropriate.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1713

An extended sentence of 10 years, comprising a custodial term of six years and an extended licence period of four years, was appropriate in the case of the appellant following his pleas of guilty to arson and aggravated burglary.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1620

An extended sentence of six years, comprising a custodial term of 18 months and an extension period of four and a half years, was appropriate in the case of a 50-year-old man who had pleaded guilty to attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1601

A maximum sentence of two years’ imprisonment for dangerous driving and six months concurrent for assault by beating was not excessive. The offender had used his car as a weapon, deliberately driving at and hitting the victim.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1449

A sentence of two years’ imprisonment following a guilty plea to two counts of fraudulent evasion of duty contrary to the Customs & Excise Management Act 1971 s.170(2) was manifestly excessive in circumstances where the offender had become involved in the criminal activity through coercion and intimidation. A sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years with a two-year supervision requirement was substituted.

A sentence of two months’ imprisonment for bringing a controlled drug into a prison was appropriate despite the fact that the offender was a carer for her disabled daughter and grandchild. The judge had also been entitled to activate part of the offender’s suspended sentence for a different offence and order it to run consecutively.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1273

A judge’s intervention and direction to the jury during defence counsel’s closing speech did not affect the safety of a defendant’s conviction. She ought to have put to counsel what she intended to say before she said it, and if she intended to criticise him in front of the jury, she ought to have raised that with him first. Overall, however, the summing-up was thorough and fair.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1174

A total sentence of three years and eight months’ imprisonment was appropriate in the case of a woman who had been convicted of eight offences of fraud (she had secured or attempted to secure tenancies of expensive properties by lying about her financial and other circumstances), two offences of using a false instrument with intent and one offence of threatening to take revenge.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1209

The prosecution’s failure to disclose a local authority report following a fatal collision on a pedestrian crossing did not render unsafe a conviction for causing death by careless driving when unfit through drink, because the report could have had no real impact on the issue for the jury which was whether the appellant was unfit through drink.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1331

The court emphasised the importance of properly structuring the extension period to the length of a period of disqualification from driving as required by the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 s.35A and s.35B, and in accordance with the guidance in R. v Needham (Paul Maurice) [2016] EWCA Crim 455.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1243

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 18 months’ imprisonment was imposed for numerous, deliberate breaches of a freezing injunction and a disclosure order including failing to deliver up a passport, and lies about ownership or interests in 30 bank accounts and eight properties.

[2017] EWHC 1860 (Ch)

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

It was good discipline for any judge delivering a judgment on a committal application to set out each relevant ground of committal before proceeding to consider whether it was made out on the evidence. In the instant case, the judge had not confined himself to the contempt alleged in the application notice.

[2017] EWCA Civ 973

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

A total sentence of 20 months’ imprisonment was appropriate for an offender who pleaded guilty to three counts of assault with intent to resist arrest and two of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, arising out of separate events. One of the actual bodily harm offences involved driving a vehicle at the victim; such reckless driving warranted an 11-month disqualification from driving.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1192

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

A sentence of eight months’ imprisonment was not manifestly excessive where the owner of a hotel had pleaded guilty to five breaches of fire safety laws that had taken place over a long period of time. It was not appropriate to use newspaper reports in court as evidence of sentences for similar breaches as they were not full or authorised reports of the cases.

A total sentence of 20 months’ detention was appropriate in the case of an 18-year-old who had pleaded guilty to inciting children to engage in sexual activity, causing a child to watch a sexual act and meeting a child following sexual grooming.

[2017] EWCA Crim 903

A sentence of eight years’ imprisonment was appropriate in the case of a repeat offender who had been convicted of burglary and theft.

[2017] EWCA Crim 868

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

A sentence of five years’ imprisonment was fully justified in the case of the appellant, who had been convicted of three offences of stalking causing serious alarm or distress and two offences of perverting the course of justice: this was an extremely serious case of stalking.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1084

The Court of Appeal refused to reopen an application for leave to appeal against sentence where the offender had been denied the opportunity of an oral hearing due to an administrative error. The court had the discretion to reopen a case in those circumstances, but the offender’s long delay in seeking to reopen her case meant that it would be inappropriate to exercise that discretion.

[2017] EWCA Crim 819

A 12-month prison sentence for contempt of court was not manifestly excessive where a wealthy businessman had deliberately failed to comply with a court order to disclose his assets to the CPS while awaiting trial for fraud. The court endorsed the sentencing judge’s focus on the harm to the rule of law caused if a person in the man’s position simply flouted court orders.

[2017] EWCA Crim 820

Concurrent sentences of seven-and-a-half years’ imprisonment were reduced to five-and-a-half years for three money laundering offences. The sentencing judge had erred in placing undue weight on the guidelines for the underlying drug trafficking operation, in which the offender had looked after the money and laundered proceeds of £94,277.

[2017] EWCA Crim 734

A person suffering from schizophrenia who killed while intoxicated could rely on the defence of diminished responsibility if their condition was of such severity that, even without intoxication, it would have impaired their responsibility. They could also rely on the defence if the schizophrenia was coupled with drink or drug dependence which together substantially impaired responsibility.

[2017] EWCA Crim 647

A sentence of three years and four months’ imprisonment was appropriate in the case of the appellant, who had pleaded guilty to child cruelty after shaking his baby daughter. Although the incident was isolated, the child had been left permanently disabled.

[2017] EWCA Crim 658

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

Total sentences of two years’ imprisonment were appropriate for two offenders who had pleaded guilty to offences associated with the running of an illegal money-lending business combining cash loans and selling motor vehicles. There had been significant breaches of the regulatory regime put in place to control money lending, but there was no evidence of violence or threats and the interest rates charged were within the commercial range.

[2017] EWCA Crim 598

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 12 months’ detention, suspended for 18 months, was appropriate for a 19-year-old offender who had taken part in a burglary at the house of his mother’s neighbour.

[2017] EWCA Crim 509

The court emphasised the importance of sentencing judges delivering their sentencing remarks in open court. Transparency in the working of the criminal justice system was integral to the maintenance of public confidence in that system.

[2017] EWCA Crim 618

In appeals against the sentences imposed on two offenders, aged 101 and 96 respectively, in respect of historical sexual offences the Court of Appeal considered the issue of the appropriate allowance to be made for extreme old age in the sentencing process.

[2017] EWCA Crim 393

A sentence of 16 months’ imprisonment following a guilty plea to doing an act intended to pervert the course of justice was too long. After having been charged with battery of his partner, an offender had asked his daughter to persuade his partner to change her evidence. Whilst the offender’s intended approach to his vulnerable victim aggravated the offence, there had not actually been any contact with her and a 12-month sentence was appropriate.

[2017] EWCA Crim 476

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

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

A marine whose conviction for the murder of a wounded insurgent in Afghanistan was quashed and replaced by a verdict of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment and dismissed from the armed forces. In the absence of a Sentencing Council guideline for the offence of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility, the court set out in detail the relevant factors for consideration.

[2017] EWCA Crim 325

Sentences of seven years’ detention were appropriate in the case of two young offenders who had pleaded guilty to wounding with intent and assault occasioning actual bodily harm after launching a sustained and brutal attack on two gay men.

[2017] EWCA Crim 452

A claimant who had fraudulently claimed that he had been a passenger on a bus involved in a road traffic accident and had pursued a fraudulent claim for personal injury damages, but had withdrawn the proceedings prior to trial and had admitted his contempt of court, was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment.

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 offender’s convictions for possession of an explosive substance in suspicious circumstances and possession of ammunition in suspicious circumstances were safe, and there was no basis for interfering with the five-year custodial sentence imposed in respect of those offences.

[2017] NICA 40

A professional footballer was refused permission to appeal against his conviction for sexual activity with a child under 16. Having permitted cross-examination on the timing of the footballer’s pleas of guilty to related grooming offences, it was unfortunate that the judge had not directed the jury on how to approach late guilty pleas. It would also have been wiser for the judge not to have given a direction in relation to adverse inferences, but neither error imperilled the safety of the conviction.

[2017] EWCA Crim 191

A sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment was appropriate following a conviction for manslaughter where an 18-year-old offender had deliberately driven a stolen car at a police officer. The judge had been correct to find that a grave offence of manslaughter had been committed, with a very high degree of culpability. He had not erred in having regard to what the minimum term would have been if the offender had been convicted of murder.

[2017] EWCA Crim 305

The court reiterated that in determining the category of harm of a money laundering offence under the Sentencing Council’s definitive guideline for fraud, bribery and money laundering offences, the scale of the harm had to be measured by the scale of the funds which included criminal proceeds, not by the amount of the criminal proceeds themselves.

[2017] EWCA Crim 308

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 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

Following the appellant’s conviction for possessing criminal property, the sentencing judge had been entitled to find that he had been involved in a drug deal when found in possession of a large amount of cash. However, the judge had erred by sentencing the appellant by reference solely to the sentencing guidelines for drug offences; he should also have had regard to the guidelines for money-laundering offences. The appellant’s sentence of four and a half years’ imprisonment would be replaced by a two-and-a-half-year term.

[2017] EWCA Crim 213