It would be extremely rare for a court considering a guilty plea to find that a case presented by the prosecution as being aggravated by sexual orientation discrimination under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.146, where that was disputed by the defence, did not require a Newton hearing because the existence of that factor would not materially affect the sentence. In any event, such a hearing was likely to be necessary because of the requirement under s.146(3)(b) to state in open court that homophobic circumstances had been present in an offence.
A total sentence of two-and-half years’ imprisonment imposed on an offender for a robbery at a convenience store whist carrying of a knife and an attempted robbery of a bookmakers was unduly lenient. The judge had significantly understated the gravity of the offending and had overstated the allowance to be made for the offender’s mitigation.
A total extended sentence of seven years and six months’ imprisonment for historic offences of attempted buggery, indecency with a child and indecent assault on a man committed by an individual aged 20-25 against his neighbour aged 10-14, whilst lenient, was not unduly so. Although aspects of the judge’s reasoning had been flawed, the offences had very unpleasant features and there had been an element of grooming, no violence had been used.
A sentence expressed in a European Arrest Warrant as ‘4 months and 330 days’ could properly be regarded in the light of further information as a single sentence for an offence of theft, enhanced because of previous offending.
A judge had erred in concluding that alcohol, which was the culpable cause of an offender’s dangerous driving, and a record of dangerous driving 20 years earlier, together required the offender to be sentenced within a higher culpability category. Judges had to be careful not to double-count against an offender by treating the sole cause of the accident as an aggravating factor of itself. He should have been sentenced within the intermediate category, and the appropriate term was 27 months’ imprisonment.