SENTENCING GUIDELINES

[2020] EWCA Crim 598
[2020] EWCA Crim 598
CA (Crim Div) (Lindblom LJ, Hilliard J, Judge Flewitt QC)
6 May 2020

Where an offender had pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility, a judge had erred in assessing his “retained responsibility” as medium to high under the sentencing guideline. Although the judge concluded that the offending was caused by the offender’s anger, the psychiatric evidence clearly indicated that the most significant factor was his mental illness and that his anger at the time of the offence was not extraneous to his mental illness, but a manifestation of it. The offender’s retained responsibility was low, and it was appropriate to impose a hospital order under the Mental Health Act 1983 s.37 and a restriction order under s.41.

[2020] EWCA Crim 557
[2020] EWCA Crim 557
CA (Crim Div) (Fulford LJ, Holroyde LJ, Sir Peter Openshaw)
29 April 2020

The court provided guidance for sentencers on following the Sentencing Guideline “Arranging or Facilitating a Child Sex Offence” relating to offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 s.14. The judge should first identify the category of harm on the basis of the sexual activity the defendant intended, then adjust the sentence to ensure that it was proportionate to the applicable starting point and range if no sexual activity had occurred, including because the victim was fictional. Although that might lead to the result that a defendant who arranged the rape of a fictional child was punished more severely than one who facilitated a comparatively minor sexual assault, that was not necessarily wrong in principle.

[2020] EWCA Crim 354
[2020] EWCA Crim 354
CA (Crim Div) (Simon LJ, Cutts J, Eady J)
11 March 2020

When considering whether the value of two or more low-value shoplifting offences could be aggregated for the purposes of determining a judge’s sentencing powers, the phrase “charged on the same occasion” in the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 s.22A(4)(b) referred to when the accused appeared before the magistrates’ court to answer the charges.

[2020] EWCA Crim 360
[2020] EWCA Crim 360
CA (Crim Div) (Thirlwall LJ, Spencer J, Sir David Foskett)
11 March 2020

The absence of specific references to time and location was not an omission or defect in the definitive guideline on unlawful act manslaughter: the list of aggravating factors in the guideline was described as “non-exhaustive”. In every case, there were a number of potentially aggravating factors and it was for the judge to identify them and accord them the appropriate weight.

[2020] EWCA Crim 147
[2020] EWCA Crim 147
CA (Crim Div) (Thirlwall LJ, Cheema-Grubb J, Judge Wendy Joseph QC)
12 February 2020

Where a person imported and dealt in Class A drugs over a long period, it was inescapable that an immediate custodial sentence of some length would be imposed, regardless of whether that person was of positive good character with every expectation of good behaviour in future. A judge’s imposition of a suspended sentence in such circumstances had therefore been inappropriate.

[2020] EWCA Civ 9
[2020] EWCA Civ 9
CA (Civ Div) (Underhill LJ, David Richards LJ, Leggatt LJ)
23 January 2020

The fact that an injunction against “persons unknown” referred to the requirement for an “intention” to impede lawful activities did not render the injunction insufficiently clear or certain to be enforceable by committal to prison following a breach. “Intention” did not have any special legal meaning and was not difficult for a member of the public to understand.

[2020] EWCA Crim 102
[2020] EWCA Crim 102
CA (Crim Div) (Haddon-Cave LJ, Eady J, Johnson J)
23 January 2020

A sentence of 27 months’ imprisonment which had been imposed on a man who had pleaded guilty to entering into or becoming concerned in a money-laundering arrangement was not manifestly excessive. The man had been a trusted courier of large amounts of money in a cigarette-smuggling operation.

[2020] NICA 1
[2020] NICA 1
CA (NI) (Morgan LCJ, Stephens LJ, McCloskey LJ)
8 January 2020

The Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland gave guidance on the correct approach to sentencing for fraud and theft where an offender was in a position of trust.

[2019] EWCA Crim 2286
[2019] EWCA Crim 2286
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Burnett LCJ, Fulford LJ, Holroyde LJ)
20 December 2019

In conjoined appeals against sentence brought by two young offenders and an adult offender, the court considered the proper approach to sentencing offenders who suffered from autism or other mental health conditions or disorders.

[2019] EWCA Crim 2174
[2019] EWCA Crim 2174
CA (Crim Div) (Dingemans LJ, Lambert J, Judge Mark Brown)
6 December 2019

Convictions for assault by penetration and sexual assault were safe, despite inadmissible opinion evidence from prosecution witnesses having been adduced before the jury. The total sentence was, however, reduced from eight years’ imprisonment to five years to reflect the overall criminality involved.

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