The court upheld an offender’s convictions for murder and attempted murder following the fatal shooting of a member of a rival gang.
The court emphasised that while a basis of plea and sensible agreement between parties was encouraged and expected to be weighed carefully by the court before departing from it, such agreement was not binding on the court as a matter of constitutional principle. However, in the instant case, the sentencing judge had had no sufficient justification for departing from the parties’ agreement, and a fine of £475,000 following a company’s guilty plea to an offence under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 reg.3(1)(a) was reduced to £200,000.
A judge had not erred when sentencing an offender to life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 10 years, as a sentence of “last resort” for extreme child sex offences committed over a number of years against his own children. The sentence was also not unduly lenient, despite the minimum term not being increased when the offender was sentenced for further offences which involved the same children being offered to other men for sexual purposes.
The court determined to what extent the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 s.11(3) constrained an appellate court’s ability to replace a standard determinate sentence with a special custodial sentence for offenders of particular concern, an extended sentence, or orders under the Mental Health Act 1983. It also indicated that, in an exceptional case, the court could impose consecutive extended sentences so as to increase the potential licence period beyond the statutory maxima for the offences in question.
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.