SENTENCING GUIDELINES

A total sentence of two years and eight months’ imprisonment was appropriate for an offender who had created and used a false Facebook profile to send unsolicited messages to five women and young girls requesting intimate photographs and threatening them when they refused.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1399

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.

A 17-year extended sentence imposed on an offender who had grossly abused his position of trust as deputy principal of a children’s home in subjecting young boys in his care to repeated sexual abuse was unduly lenient. Given the scale and frequency of the offending, which was akin to a campaign of rape, an extended sentence of 22 years was appropriate.

[2017] EWCA Crim 878

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

A reduction in rank from sergeant to bombardier imposed at a court martial following a guilty plea to two counts of assault was appropriate. The offender had an exemplary record and the sentence was severe, but it was necessary to reflect the fact that a senior non-commissioned officer had assaulted a subordinate whilst drunk.

[2017] EWCA Crim 648

A suspended sentence of two years’ imprisonment was not unduly lenient for an offender who had pleaded guilty to child sex offences on the first day of trial, even though the judge had wrongly giving maximum credit for those pleas and had failed to properly differentiate between the sentencing guideline categorisation of the offences in terms of harm and culpability. A sentence in excess of two years could not be suspended, and the offender would have been unable to attend a sexual work programme pursuant to a rehabilitation activity requirement in those circumstances.

[2017] EWCA Crim 877

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 total sentence of 14 years’ imprisonment was reduced to 11 years for an offender, described as the head of an organised crime group, who had pleaded guilty to separate conspiracies to supply class B drugs through a large-scale distribution network. The sentencing judge had erred when considering the issue of totality of sentence for conspiracies which, although substantial, in effect ran concurrently and involved class B drugs.

[2017] EWCA Crim 840

A sentence of six years and eight months’ imprisonment for attempted murder, where the offender had stabbed his friend several times in an unplanned attack following an argument, was not unduly lenient. Although the friend had suffered serious and long-term physical harm in the form of facial disfigurement, which justified a starting point of 15 years’ imprisonment, the offender’s immediate reporting of the incident to the police and his remorse were exceptional and required additional allowance going beyond the one-third discount for his early guilty plea.

[2017] EWCA Crim 577

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

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

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

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

A total sentence of nine and a half years’ imprisonment for four offences of conspiracy to supply class A drugs, committed over two separate periods and sentenced in non-chronological order, and one offence of taking class B drugs into a prison as a visitor was reduced to eight and a half years, as the judge had failed to give the offender sufficient discount when assessing his overall culpability.

[2017] EWCA Crim 67

A district judge, having considered the Extradition Act 2003 s.21A, had been entitled to conclude that it would not be disproportionate to extradite an individual accused of a fraud offence. Notwithstanding that under domestic sentencing guidelines the offence fell into the lower category of harm, many factors indicating lesser culpability were absent and there were aggravating factors.

A starting point of three years’ imprisonment was appropriate for an offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm where an offender, with numerous previous convictions for violence, had struck a heavy blow to the victim’s head, causing loss of consciousness.

[2017] EWCA Crim 161

The court reiterated the proper approach to sentencing an adult for sexual offences committed as a teenager.

[2017] EWCA Crim 43

A sentence of nine months’ imprisonment was appropriate in the case of a prolific shoplifter who had pleaded guilty to attempted theft.

[2017] EWCA Crim 39

A sentence of 18 years, comprising a custodial term of 17 years and a licence period of one year, was appropriate in the case of the appellant, who had been convicted of serious sexual offences against his young cousin.

On a reference under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 s.36, the Attorney General was not bound by any concession made by counsel for the prosecution as to the appropriate categorisation of the relevant offence under the sentencing guidelines. However, if he sought to depart from such a concession, he should flag the matter up in the final reference.

[2016] EWCA Crim 2238

The Court of Appeal set out the correct approach to the sentencing guideline for Fraud, Bribery and Money Laundering Offences. Where offences were charged as a conspiracy and the actual loss did not reflect the intended loss from the conspiracy as a whole, sentencing judges were entitled to move the case up to the corresponding point in the category above the level of harm which had been quantified.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1948

The Court of Appeal considered related applications to appeal against sentence by six applicants and one Attorney General’s reference in relation to terrorism related offences, in the light of the guidance given in R. v Kahar (Mohammed Abdul) [2016] EWCA Crim 568.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1868

When sentencing an offender for causing serious injury by dangerous driving it was possible to take account of all of the injuries caused by the offence and not only those that were serious. A sentence of two years’ imprisonment imposed following a guilty plea to causing serious injury by dangerous driving was not manifestly excessive; the driving fell within category 1 of the sentencing guidelines, the offence involved four cars and numerous injuries and was aggravated by the offender’s previous driving convictions.

The court quashed two convictions for possessing prohibited ammunition where the ammunition was not prohibited but was unlawful without a certificate. A total sentence of five years’ imprisonment following guilty pleas to possession of a prohibited weapon and possession of a controlled Class A drug with intent to supply was unduly lenient; applying considerations of totality, the appropriate sentence was eight years’ imprisonment.

A sentence of 32 months’ imprisonment for causing serious injury by dangerous driving was neither wrong in principle nor manifestly excessive where the offender had recent relevant convictions, had driven at a grossly excessive speed and had caused catastrophic injury to a moped driver.

The court gave guidance on sentencing for child abduction.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1754

A 12-year sentence following guilty pleas to 20 charges of burglary of unoccupied homes was reduced to 10 years where the judge had given too little weight to the absence of any confrontation or violence used against the victims. A sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment, following guilty pleas to six charges of handling stolen goods, was reduced to thirteen-and-a-half months, where the judge had put the offences in the wrong sentencing category.

When sentencing a solicitor who had pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining £25,000 from her own firm, the judge had erred in taking into account additional, consequential loss that had been caused to the firm when categorising the offence under the relevant sentencing guidelines. In order for such consequential loss to be taken into account, it was necessary to establish to the criminal standard that it was a direct result of the conduct to which the solicitor had pleaded guilty.

When sentencing an offender for conspiracy to supply just over 75kg opium, the judge had been entitled to use a dividing figure of opium to heroin of 8, so that the equivalent quantity of heroin for the 75kg of opium was 9.5kg.

[2016] EWCA Crim 2123

A sentence of seven years’ imprisonment, imposed by a Court Martial following a conviction for assault by penetration, was reduced to six years where the judge advocate had double-counted certain factors, using them to determine the sentencing category and starting point and then to increase the sentence, and where he had given insufficient weight to the offender’s mitigation, particularly as she had lost her army career.

Sentences of 11 years and three months in detention, following the first offender’s guilty pleas to two charges of rape, and 14 years in detention, following the second offender’s guilty pleas to three charges of rape, were not manifestly excessive where the teenage offenders had carried out serious and violent attacks on two vulnerable victims on two separate occasions.

[2016] EWCA Crim 2117

A starting point of four and a half years for a non-domestic burglary could not be criticised where it had involved planning and sophistication and the offender had an appalling criminal record. Applying a one-third discount for the offender’s guilty plea, a sentence of three years’ imprisonment was not manifestly excessive.

A sentence of 12 months’ imprisonment was appropriate in the case of an offender who, while serving a sentence of imprisonment imposed on him for stalking and threatening his former partner, had breached a restraining order by telephoning her a number of times from prison.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1702

Concurrent sentences of five-years-and-four-months’ imprisonment for an oral and a vaginal rape were unduly lenient. The starting point should have been 11 years to reflect the fact that two offences were committed at a remote location, involving a prolonged struggle during which the offender raped the victim without a condom and ejaculated.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1856

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

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 sentence of two years’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, was not unduly lenient following guilty pleas by a 26-year-old offender with learning difficulties to three counts of sexual activity with a 14-year-old girl.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1511

A sentence of two years’ imprisonment, following guilty pleas to burglary, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and two charges of criminal damage, was increased to three years where significant violence had been used towards the victim during a burglary in his home.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1590

The Court of Appeal gave additional guidance on the principles to be applied when offenders were sentenced for historic sexual offences.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1388

Sentencing guidelines for dangerous driving recommended a one-third discount for an early guilty plea, but allowed a lower reduction of 20% where the evidence against an offender was overwhelming. A sentencing judge erred by applying a discount of 12.5% on the basis of the seriousness of the offending and his dissatisfaction with the length of the maximum sentence as the guidelines expressly forbade such an approach.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1398

When sentencing an offender, who had an appalling criminal record, to two years’ imprisonment for an offence of handling stolen goods, a judge had not followed the sentencing guidelines and had failed to give reasons for doing so. The correct sentence, with full credit for an early guilty plea, was 12 months’ imprisonment.

A total sentence of two years and eight months’ imprisonment where an offender had pleaded guilty to two offences of attempted burglary was manifestly excessive and reduced to two years’ imprisonment. Although the offender had a long list of previous convictions, the four-year starting point taken by the judge had not been proportionate.

A sentence of four-and-a-half-years’ imprisonment for four counts of possession of a class A drug with intent to supply was reduced to one of three years and eight months’ imprisonment where the judge had been correct to find that the offender had played a significant role in the operation, but had taken a starting point which was too high.

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 sentence of eight years’ imprisonment was appropriate following a guilty plea to causing death by dangerous driving. The offender had been racing another driver at up to 60mph over the speed limit before crashing into a bus stop, causing death and serious injury to two women, and had provided a breath specimen that was positive for alcohol.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1082

A sentence of three years’ imprisonment following a guilty plea to burglary, whilst severe, was not manifestly excessive where there were substantial aggravating features and the evidence against the offender was overwhelming. The offender had entered a house at night when the occupants, a mother and her autistic son, were upstairs and had taken property including a television.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1084

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