STARTING POINT

[2020] EWCA Crim 718
[2020] EWCA Crim 718
CA (Crim Div) (Simler LJ, Turner J, Cutts J)
22 June 2020

The court reduced two sentences for offences of conspiracy to supply cocaine. In relation to the first appellant, who was the sole carer of her 7 year old son, the sentencing judge had afforded insufficient weight to the definitive guidelines which specifically listed being the sole carer for dependent relatives as a factor reducing seriousness. In relation to the second appellant it had not been necessary to go outside of the sentencing range provided by the category 1 “significant role” guidelines in light of his role in the conspiracy.

[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.

[2019] NICA 66
[2019] NICA 66
CA (NI) (Stephens LJ, Treacy LJ, Keegan J)
25 November 2019

The Court of Appeal (Northern Ireland) considered the appropriate reduction to a sentence when an offender pleaded guilty at arraignment but did not indicate his intention to plead guilty at the outset. In particular, it considered whether the attitude of the offender at interview should be taken into account, and whether the present guidance was consistent with the terms of the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 art.33(1). It also considered whether there was an impact on the level of discount if the offender was caught red-handed or if there was no viable defence.

[2019] EWCA Crim 1691
[2019] EWCA Crim 1691
CA (Crim Div) (Davis LJ, William Davis J, Julian Knowles J)
11 October 2019

A fine imposed on a subsidiary company for an offence under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 s.3(1) was reduced where the sentencing judge had improperly taken into account the parent company’s turnover and resources when applying an uplift to the starting point reached under the Sentencing Guideline for Health and Safety Offences, Corporate Manslaughter and Food Safety and Hygiene Offences. The court considered the proper application of the Guideline.

[2019] EWCA Crim 1237
[2019] EWCA Crim 1237
CA (Crim Div) (Holroyde LJ, Choudhury J, Judge Field QC)
9 July 2019

A judge at a fraud trial should have excluded two hearsay witness statements due to their prejudicial nature when the makers of the statements could not be contacted to give evidence in person. However, the conviction was safe given the abundance of other evidence.

[2019] EWCA Crim 1194
[2019] EWCA Crim 1194
CA (Crim Div) (Spencer J, Judge Picton)
14 June 2019

A sentence of three years and nine months’ imprisonment was appropriate for a repeat offender who had pleaded guilty to a dwelling-house burglary. The sentencing judge had been wrong to treat the offender’s assertion that he needed to look at CCTV footage of the offence before he was prepared to plead guilty as a reason for reducing the credit to be given for the plea.

[2019] EWCA Crim 1229
[2019] EWCA Crim 1229
CA (Crim Div) (Fulford LJ, May J, Swift J)
6 June 2019

Sentences of six years’ imprisonment, 24 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years and 27 months’ imprisonment imposed for conspiracy to facilitate breaches of UK immigration law by abusing the Home Office Tier 4 Temporary Migration Programme through the sale of “confirmation of acceptance to study” at colleges where no education was offered were unduly lenient; the court replaced them with sentences of four years’ imprisonment, eight years’ imprisonment and 3 years and 11 months immediate imprisonment. Whilst the criminal activity may not have extended over a long period of time, the offenders had fully availed themselves of the opportunity presented, relatively large sums of money had been involved and the fraud had involved significant abuse of the points-based system.

[2019] EWCA Crim 969
[2019] EWCA Crim 969
CA (Crim Div) (Holroyde LJ, Popplewell J, Sir Kenneth Parker)
14 May 2019

When sentencing an offender to six years’ imprisonment for conspiracy to commit dwelling house burglary and two counts of dwelling house burglary committed when he was 17, a sentencing judge had erred in stating that if an adult had committed the offences a 15-year starting point would have been appropriate. In all the circumstances, including the offender’s strong personal mitigation, a five-year sentence was appropriate. The judge had also erred in expressing the sentence as one of imprisonment: the court quashed the sentence and replaced it with one of five years’ detention in a young offender institution.

[2019] EWCA Crim 792
[2019] EWCA Crim 792
CA (Crim Div) (Sharp LJ, William Davis J, Judge Leonard QC)
16 April 2019

A sentence of 72 months’ imprisonment for misconduct in a public office imposed on a prison officer, who had engaged in sexual and inappropriate conduct with several prisoners and had brought Class B drugs into the prison, was severe but appropriate. The prison officer had passed on information concerning the security measures being taken at the prison, which merited a severe deterrent sentence.

[2019] NICA 18
[2019] NICA 18
CA (NI) (Deeny LJ, McCloskey J, Sir Ronald Weatherup)
2 April 2019

In determining the minimum term of imprisonment for a mandatory life sentence for murder, a judge had not erred in adopting the higher starting point of 16 years under the Practice Statement (Sup Ct: Crime: Life Sentences) [2002] 1 W.L.R. 1789 given the severity of the injuries inflicted on the victim before his death. Although, in principle, an intention to cause grievous bodily harm rather than to kill could attract some mitigation, the judge had correctly reasoned that the severity of the violence had not mitigated the offender’s culpability.

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