UNDUE LENIENCY

A sentence of two years’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, was unduly lenient for 36 incidents of perverting the course of justice by providing false details on behalf of motorists caught speeding or failing to stop at traffic lights. After allowance for the guilty plea, the appropriate sentence was three years’ immediate imprisonment.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1357

A total sentence of two years and six months’ imprisonment was appropriate following pleas of guilty to burglary and theft of a car. The offender had entered the house of his ex-girlfriend without permission, threatening her with a screwdriver and taking her car keys before stealing her car. The burglary came within Category 1 of the definitive guidelines and was seriously aggravated by the offender’s appalling criminal record and the domestic violence element of the offence.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1398

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

A sentence of 45 months’ imprisonment after an offender’s guilty plea to 13 distraction burglaries targeting elderly and vulnerable victims was unduly lenient. The judge should have applied a 10-year starting point before making a deduction for the guilty pleas, resulting in a sentence of 7 years and 6 months’ imprisonment.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1256

A sentence of eight years’ imprisonment was appropriate in the case of an offender who had pleaded guilty to encouraging or assisting the commission of the offence of causing grievous bodily harm with intent after arranging from prison for two men to be beaten up.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1093

An applicant had not been sufficiently prompt and so was out of time to apply for judicial review of a decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland not to refer a sentence to the Court of Appeal for being unduly lenient. Neither a pending application for legal aid, nor an intention to try and change the DPP’s mind were reasonable objective excuses for applying late, and ordering the DPP to lodge a provisional notice of referral pending the outcome of the judicial review application was contrary to the legislative scheme and would cause hardship.

[2017] NIQB 66

A 12-month community order for racially aggravated harassment was unduly lenient, and the Court of Appeal set out a number of factors relevant to the assessment of harm and culpability in such cases. However, it did not overturn the sentence, as the offender had pleaded guilty after an unsolicited comment from the judge that she would not face imprisonment if she changed her plea.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1500

Life sentences with a total minimum term of 23 years were imposed on offenders who had tortured a couple in their 60s in order to force them to hand over a large quantity of cash and had later shot a man in the head in a conspiracy to kill him.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1353

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 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

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

A sentence of four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment imposed on an airline passenger who had started a fire in the toilet of an aeroplane travelling at 33,000 ft and carrying over 200 people was unduly lenient. A sentence of nine-and-a-half years’ imprisonment was appropriate. Given that there was no sentencing guideline for the offence of arson, the Crown should provide a sentencing note for judges setting out relevant cases and sentences.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1366

An extended sentence of 15 years, with a 12-year custodial portion, imposed concurrently for two counts of manslaughter on a driver who had led police on a high-speed chase before losing control of his vehicle and killing two people, was not unduly lenient.

A sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, which had been imposed on a man of previous good character following his pleas of guilty to attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity and attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming was not unduly lenient.

[2017] EWCA Crim 1499

A suspended sentence of 15 months’ imprisonment imposed on a building contractor for gross negligence manslaughter was unduly lenient. Cases where employees were required to work from dangerous heights with an obvious potential for serious or fatal consequences if they were not protected required deterrent sentences. Furthermore, there had been no basis for suspending the sentence in the instant case.

[2017] NICA 29

A sentence of four years’ imprisonment for an offender who had been convicted of offences under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 was obviously unduly lenient and was increased to seven years. He had conspired with his family to trick desperate Polish people who spoke no English to travel to the UK on the promise of well-paid work, but the offender and his family then housed those victims in appalling conditions, threatened and beat them and forced them to work in regular jobs and took their wages from them.

[2017] EWCA Crim 758

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 suspended sentence given to an 18-year-old offender, following guilty pleas to sexual offences with his 14-year-old girlfriend, who became pregnant and underwent a termination as a result, was increased to an immediate custodial sentence of 30 months, where the judge had incorrectly applied the sentencing guidelines on the advice of the Crown.

[2017] EWCA Crim 492

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 sentence of ten years’ imprisonment, imposed following convictions for numerous sexual offences against two young girls over a period of six years, was increased to 15 years where the judge had failed to reflect the totality of the offending against both victims.

A woman who allowed her adult son to kill a vulnerable adult who lodged in their house, and then conspired to pervert the course of justice, had her sentence of eight years’ imprisonment increased to 10 years, because she should have received a consecutive sentence for the conspiracy, which was not merely parasitic on the main offence but amounted to serious additional criminality. Her son’s girlfriend also had her sentence increased for the same offences.

[2017] EWCA Crim 559

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.

A sentence of six-and-a-half years’ imprisonment, following guilty pleas to conspiracy to possess a prohibited weapon for sale or transfer, possession of a prohibited weapon, possession of criminal property and possession of ammunition without a firearms certificate, was increased to eight-a-half years. Deterrent sentencing was required for a conspiracy that involved two working firearms and ammunition, in line with guidance from the Court of Appeal.

Sentences imposed on three offenders for conspiracy falsely to imprison were unduly lenient and would be quashed. The judge’s starting point of eight years’ imprisonment was too low, given the level of violence, threat and degradation involved in the offences, and the detention of the victim in a private flat where help was ruled out.

[2017] EWCA Crim 339

Where a court had no idea why a serious offence had been committed and could not be confident that another serious offence would not be committed, it should make a finding of dangerousness.

A four-month prison sentence was unduly lenient for an assault by an escaping dwelling-house burglar who had driven a car at a police officer attempting to arrest him and caused injury, albeit without intent, and a sentence of 14 months was substituted. A sentence of 20 months’ imprisonment had been lenient but not unduly so for the burglary itself despite the offender having two previous such convictions, as his circumstances would have made it unjust to impose the minimum three-year term.

[2017] EWCA Crim 103

A sentence of 21 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, imposed on a 49-year-old bar manager for an offence of assault by penetration against his 18-year-old employee was unduly lenient. The judge had applied too low a starting point and had given too much credit for the offender’s good character and guilty plea. An immediate sentence of 32 months’ imprisonment was appropriate.

[2017] EWCA Crim 272

An offender was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment for causing death by dangerous driving where he had consumed a large amount of alcohol, had driven dangerously for a prolonged period and had failed to stop at the scene. In cases of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm or death a deterrent sentence had to be imposed.

[2017] NICA 1

A suspended sentence imposed on a young and inexperienced prison officer who had pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office and conveying a prohibited article into prison was not unduly lenient.

[2016] EWCA Crim 2224

A sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, for three counts of cruelty to a child was unduly lenient where there had been three separate victims, and the abuse had taken place over five years and had included sadistic acts. The appropriate sentence was three years’ imprisonment.

[2016] EWCA Crim 2156

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 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

Custodial sentences of two years’ detention and 16 months’ detention were merited for two young offenders convicted of possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, contrary to the Firearms Act 1968 s.16A. The offences were aggravated by being premeditated, being committed in public; and the fact that the offenders had acted in a group.

[2016] EWCA Crim 2022

Sentences of nine years’ detention imposed following convictions for manslaughter were unduly lenient and replaced with 15-year sentences. The offenders, aged 17 and 18 at the time, had knowingly participated in a plan to assault and injure the victim, knowing that at least one knife would be used; those factors brought the case closer to murder and the offenders had to be sentenced accordingly.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1715

A total sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment together with an extended licence period of one year was appropriate for historic sex offences committed by a 71-year-old man against his three step-grandchildren.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1777

It was in the best interests of a young offender, who was convicted of raping two boys aged six and seven and attempting to rape another, when he himself was 11, for his sentence of a youth rehabilitation order to be increased to three years’ detention to enable him to get the support and guidance he needed.

[2016] EWCA Crim 2115

A sentence of two years’ detention in a young offenders institution, suspended for two years, imposed on a young offender for sexual activity with a child under 13 contrary to the Sexual Offences Act 2003 s.5, was unduly lenient. There were no exceptional circumstances to justify anything other than an immediate custodial sentence.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1847

A two-year suspended sentence imposed on a man who had pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited weapon was unduly lenient. The minimum term of five years’ imprisonment provided for in the Firearms Act 1968 s.51A would be imposed in its place, there being no exceptional circumstances.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1961

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 sentence of 12 years’ imprisonment imposed following guilty pleas to 24 charges of indecent assault on a male, two charges of indecency with a child under 14, one charge of indecent assault on a female under 13 and two charges of perjury, was increased to 18 years where the offender, a priest and former social worker, had committed a catalogue of offences against 11 victims over decades and where his behaviour resulted in one victim giving evidence at two trials.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1988

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 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

A sentence of five years and eight months in a young offender institute, following guilty pleas to two charges of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, two charges of having an article with a point or blade and one charge of having a firearm in a public place, was increased to seven years and eight months to mark the seriousness of the separate weapons offences, where the judge had dealt with them as aggravating the drugs offences, rather than as separate offences.

[2016] EWCA Crim 2091

A 17-year sentence, following convictions for cruelty to a 17-month-old child and for his murder, was increased to 20 years where the offender had subjected the child to sustained violence in the weeks leading up to his death. A sentence of 20 months’ imprisonment imposed on the child’s mother following her guilty plea to child cruelty was increased to 30 months, where she had failed to alert the authorities to the injuries that she was aware the child had sustained.

[2016] EWCA Crim 2108

A starting point of 10 years’ imprisonment was appropriate for a group of offenders who carried out a planned attack which involved kidnapping and falsely imprisoning a victim. The incident lasted for 10 hours and the offenders physically attacked the victim and used weapons, including a crowbar and a knuckleduster. They also demanded money and threatened to kill her.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1780

A 10-year sentence, following a conviction for manslaughter, was increased to 15 years where the death had been the culmination of a campaign of domestic violence.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1740

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 four years’ imprisonment, following guilty pleas to attempted false imprisonment and attempting to administer a stupefying or overpowering drug, was replaced by an extended term of eight years and four months, consisting of a custodial term of five years four months and an extended term of three years on licence as there were a number of features including a conviction for a similar offence that showed that the offender was dangerous.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1592

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