A sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment imposed after a guilty plea to threatening to take revenge on a witness was not manifestly excessive. Those who reported criminal activities were entitled to expect that they would be protected and that significant sentences would be passed if they were threatened.
ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE OFFENCES
An accused should not be summarily convicted of contempt of court unless the offence was admitted or proved against him beyond reasonable doubt; nor should a fine be imposed in the absence of a proper enquiry into his ability to pay.
A sentence of two years’ imprisonment imposed on an offender following her conviction for an offence of perverting the course of justice by making a false allegation of rape against her boyfriend was appropriate in light of her not guilty plea and the impact of such allegations upon the minds of jurors trying rape cases.
A suspended sentence for an offence of perverting the course of justice, in which the offender gave a false account to police in relation to a murder investigation, was unduly lenient in the circumstances; however, if an immediate custodial sentence was imposed it would be so short that the disruption and effect on the offender could not be justified.
A witness summons did not have to be served in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Rules 2005 r.4(7)(2) if it was brought to the attention of the witness. If the witness then failed to attend, he could be guilty of contempt of court.