Solicitor recommended for clients defending accused of causing actual bodily harm (“ABH”)
If you are accused of assault occasioning actual bodily harm (“ABH”) (and if you can afford him) you are well-advised to follow the lead of countless others and instruct Jim to defend you. He is a solicitor with over 25-years’ of criminal litigation experience and is recognised by his peers as a leader in the field.
ABH is a serious criminal offence and (whether in its aggravated form or not) is triable either way (i.e. in the crown court as well as the magistrates’ court). If you are convicted of such a matter then, unless the court finds that you have low culpability and the harm caused is less serious in the context of the offence itself, the entry point stipulated by the sentencing guidelines is imprisonment.
Jim has a solid, proven track record of successfully defending clients on the basis of mistaken identity, self defence and / or a complainant’s lies. Victims can and do erroneously identify their attacker; honest witnesses can be mistaken but they often provide credible, compelling testimony, resolute in their belief that their identification of the suspect is correct. Conversely, the reality is that complainants can and do lie, for a myriad of reasons including a motivation to seek material gain, revenge, or attention and / or sympathy.
Instruct a leading criminal solicitor who can make a difference to your case
Whatever the circumstances, you need a leading criminal defence lawyer (like Jim) who will work tirelessly to:
Gain a comprehensive grasp of the fine-grain detail of what the witnesses say;
Identify potential concerns regarding the quality and manner in which witnesses disclose their account, for example:
a lack of detail;
narrative contrast (where the degree of detail for circumstances preceding and following a significant event differs from the degree of description of the event itself );
features that raise doubt about the reliability of the source of the account, such as its improbability, impossibility or implausibility;
when the sentence construction, phrases used and use of particular words and terms is out of keeping with the rest of the witness’s evidence.
Identify anomalies in the witnesses’ accounts, in particular:
gaps in the narrative;
inconsistency and contradiction.
Even if you admit to the allegation, Jim can make a real difference in the way your case is viewed, either by the police or the court. It may be that he can persuade the police and its lawyers (the Crown Prosecution Service [“CPS”]) that your prosecution is not in the interests of justice, or that the circumstances are such that your culpability is lower. One thing that is sure is that Jim will do all that he can to secure you the best possible outcome.
If you instruct Jim, probably the first thing you will realise is that he is a straight-talking lawyer who provides honest and frank advice without any "BS". The same is also true about what he will tell you in relation to how much it will likely cost you to hire him, and he aims to be completely transparent about what he charges, what this pays for and how this compares to a lawyer being remunerated under legal aid. Jim believes this is the only way his clients can make a sensible, informed decision on how to proceed.
Jim has compiled a database of historical bills for matters in a single financial year to help him estimate how much a case will cost. Looking at this data there are 1,168 cases1 where:
The main allegation was assault occasioning actual bodily harm,
There was a single defendant, who
Pleaded not guilty, and
Was subseqently tried before a jury in the Crown Court.
Based on this information, Jim's advice is:
The prosecution evidence in a typical case alleging assault occasioning actual bodily harm normally runs to approximately 63 pages (note that this does not include CCTV, multi-media or digital evidence; nor does it include any unused material served by the prosecution [i.e. material which the prosecution believes may undermine its case or assist the case for the accused] or any evidence collected by the defence); the minimum number of pages was recorded as 3 and the maximum was 2,365;
A crown court trial where there is a single defendant and the main allegation is assault occasioning actual bodily harm will normally comprise 10 prosecution witnesses and last around 3 days (the lowest number of witnesses recorded was 2 and the most was 157; the shortest trial recorded was 1 and the longest was 29);
For a trial lasting 3 days with 10 witnesses and a similar page count of 63 pages, Jim estimates the total cost (including VAT and the advocates fee but excluding any other disbursements) will be in the range of £24,380 to £38,580. This compares to the typical fee2 of £3,400 paid to the legal team under legal aid.
Graduated table of estimated fees, including VAT but excluding disbursements, for example the cost of hiring an expert and/or counsel
Pages of Material
Days in Court
1 Note that this doesn't represent all of the data on historical cases; in order to try to provide a "like-for-like" comparison it is restricted to cases where there was a single client and the matter was tried in the crown court. This will give you a general idea but obviously Jim will be able to advise you on the specifics of your particular case and the impact this may have on the likely cost. ↩
2 This is an approximation. There are calculators available on the MOJ's website which can help you work out the fee claimable under the scheme, excluding any additional payment made for "special preparation".↩
A judge had erred in refusing to admit bad character evidence against a witness whose credibility was at issue in a criminal trial. The witness had been accused of attempting to blackmail another witness by saying that she would allege sexual misconduct against him if he did not pay her money. The judge had erred in concluding that the blackmail allegation was not evidence of a false complaint and in holding that the allegation did not have substantial probative value because the evidential dispute could not be resolved by a jury.
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 sentence of four years and five months' imprisonment was justified in the case of the appellant, who had pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary, one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and one count of assault by beating.
CA (Crim Div) (Simon LJ, Lavender J, Judge Martin Edmunds QC)
7 June 2019
The appropriate total sentence for a husband and wife who had pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, criminal damage and perverting the course of justice was two years and two months' imprisonment, where the offenders had committed a sustained attack on their neighbour, late at night, in the victim's home, in the presence of her children, and destroyed CCTV evidence.
A judge had erred in failing to apply the appropriate credit for a guilty plea and for failing to reduce a custodial sentence on the grounds of totality when sentencing an offender for offences of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and doing an act which harmed a witness.
Although a 50-month term of imprisonment imposed on an offender who had beaten and threatened to kill his girlfriend, threatened to kill her mother, assaulted a 14-year-old boy, had a knife and knuckleduster in his possession, and had threatened to petrol bomb and pour boiling water over police officers was lenient, the Court of Appeal, if sentencing him, would have imposed a sentence one year longer, and so the difference was not such as to make the sentence unduly lenient or justify the court's intervention.
CA (Crim Div) (Sharp LJ, Goose J, Common Serjeant)
5 March 2019
The court modified certain provisions of an indefinite sexual harm prevention order imposed on an offender following his guilty pleas to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, rape and failure to comply with notification requirements, but maintained the indefinite nature of the order as there was no way of knowing when the offender would stop being a danger.
CA (Crim Div) (Davis LJ, Robin Knowles J, Sir Wyn Williams)
29 January 2019
Convictions for child cruelty and assault occasioning actual bodily harm were unsafe where a judge had failed to properly instruct the jury in terms of the particulars of the offence of cruelty which alleged cruelty and humiliation conjunctively, and had allowed evidence to be cross-admissible in respect of the offence of assault without giving a tailored and qualified direction in that respect.
CA (Crim Div) (Green LJ, Soole J, Judge Walden-Smith)
16 January 2019
A judge had not erred in admitting evidence of a defendant's previous convictions during a trial for kidnapping, rape and assault as rebuttal evidence under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.101(1)(g) against the defendant's attack on the complainant's credibility.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Burnett LCJ, Nicol J, William Davis J)
22 March 2018
Body modification, such as the removal of an ear or nipple, or tongue splitting, performed on a consenting adult by a practitioner with no medical training or qualification, could not form an exception to the general rule in R. v Brown (Anthony Joseph)  1 A.C. 212 that consent was no defence to causing actual bodily harm or wounding. Even if Parliament or the Supreme Court revisited the general rule and adifferent line was drawn to allow consent to act as a defence to causing actual bodily harm and wounding, body modification caused really serious harm.
CA (Crim Div) (Treacy LJ, May J, Judge Zeidman QC)
6 July 2017
A total sentence of 20 months' imprisonment was appropriate for an offender who pleaded guilty to three counts of assault with intent to resist arrest and two of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, arising out of separate events. One of the actual bodily harm offences involved driving a vehicle at the victim; such reckless driving warranted an 11-month disqualification from driving.
CA (Crim Div) (Thirlwall LJ, Sir John Royce, Judge Inman QC)
20 June 2017
A judge had not erred in imposing a total sentence of 14 years' imprisonment, comprising an extended sentence and consecutive determinate sentences, following an offender's guilty pleas to serious sexual and violent offences against a vulnerable 17-year-old girl. However, the authorities indicated that it was better practice for the determinate sentences to be imposed first, followed by the extended sentence, and the court emphasised the importance of counsel assisting the judge in such sentencing tasks.
The court emphasised the importance of sentencing judges delivering their sentencing remarks in open court. Transparency in the working of the criminal justice system was integral to the maintenance of public confidence in that system.
CA (Crim Div) (Davis LJ, Holroyde J, Judge Kinch QC)
30 March 2017
Convictions for wounding with intent, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, having an offensive weapon and criminal damage were upheld. The judge had not erred in her summing up and the appellant had not been prejudiced by an agreed admission placed before the jury.
CA (Crim Div) (Hallett LJ, Nicola Davies J, Sir Alan Wilkie)
28 March 2017
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.
CA (Crim Div) (Davis LJ, Simler J, Judge Munro QC)
17 February 2017
Deficiencies in a judge's legal directions to the jury, taken cumulatively with the absence of a structured route to verdict as well as other failures in his summing-up, were such as to render three convictions for joint enterprise robbery unsafe.
CA (Crim Div) (Sharp LJ, Haddon-Cave J, Judge Batty QC)
31 January 2017
A starting point of three years' imprisonment was appropriate for an offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm where an offender, with numerous previous convictions for violence, had struck a heavy blow to the victim's head, causing loss of consciousness.
CA (Crim Div) (Haddon-Cave J, Recorder of Manchester )
27 January 2017
A sentence of three years and four months' imprisonment was appropriate in the case of the appellant, who had pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm after attacking two nurses while he was in hospital.
CA (Crim Div) (Simon LJ, Blake J, Judge Leonard QC)
19 January 2017
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.
CA (Crim Div) (Hallett LJ, Blair J, Nicola Davies J)
7 December 2016
The court quashed a prohibited activity requirement preventing an offender from entering licensed premises for six months following a conviction for assault occasioning actual bodily harm where the judge had failed to consult with the probation service as required by the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.203(2) and alcohol had played no part in the offence or in the offender's history such as to justify such a requirement.
QBD (Admin) (Ouseley J)
30 November 2016
A report of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, concluding that it was not appropriate to refer to the DPP allegations that two police officers had caused actual bodily harm when arresting a man, had been rational and lawful.
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.
CA (Crim Div) (Lloyd Jones LJ, Patterson J, Judge Williams)
21 October 2016
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.
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.
CA (Crim Div) (Treacy LJ, Irwin J, Elisabeth Laing J)
29 September 2016
A conviction for assault occasioning actual bodily harm was not unsafe despite the fact that the complainant had made three references to the accused's previous convictions. The judge had correctly focused on the proper questions and the justice of the trial and had given a short and appropriate direction to the jury to ignore her references.
The Parole Board had applied the presumption in favour of release in its refusal to direct a prisoner's re-release after his recall for breaching his licence conditions. It had been rational for the board to conclude that he posed a high risk of serious harm to his ex-partner as that assessment of risk had been based on a significant number of elements.
CA (Crim Div) (Hamblen LJ, King J, Judge Cutts QC)
29 July 2016
A sentence of two years' detention for each of two offences of assault to run consecutively was not manifestly excessive where the offences had involved repeated assaults of the offender's girlfriend over a significant period of time using weapons. A sentence of two years' detention on a count of making a threat to kill was reduced to 12 months since the judge had taken too high a starting point and failed to have sufficient regard to the principle of totality.
CA (Crim Div) (Sharp LJ, Spencer J, Judge Bidder QC)
28 July 2016
The Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.161A and s.161B did not permit the court to order that a surcharge be paid as compensation and so a sentencing judge's orders to that effect were quashed and replaced with orders that the defendants pay surcharges in the same amount that he had been wrongly ordered to pay as compensation.
CA (Crim Div) (Macur LJ, Supperstone J, Judge Bidder QC)
19 July 2016
Sentences of eight years' imprisonment were appropriate for each of three offenders who had been involved in the kidnap and assault of two young men in retaliation for a drugs theft. In a planned incident lasting some 90 minutes, the victims were tracked down, restrained, threatened with a hatchet, punched, kicked and stamped upon.
CA (Crim Div) (Holroyde J, Judge Melbourne Inman QC)
17 June 2016
A sentence of three years' imprisonment, imposed following guilty pleas to five offences of breaching a restraining order and one offence of actual bodily harm, was within the permissible range for an offender with a history of non-compliance with court orders and a bad criminal record who had breached the restraining order within days of release from prison.
The court criticised counsel for failing to take advantage of the slip rule provisions in the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 s.155. The instant appeal was heard within the 56-day period within which the slip rule could have been invoked and, whilst the need for an appeal might not have been obviated, the sentencing judge would have had the chance to reconsider the appropriate sentence.
CA (Crim Div) (Treacy LJ, Elisabeth Laing J, Judge Inman QC)
14 June 2016
The appellant's conviction for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, committed against a neighbour, was not rendered unsafe by the trial judge's refusal to allow him to adduce evidence of the neighbour's bad character in the form of allegations that the neighbour had a history of threatening behaviour towards him. All of the material relied on amounted to unsubstantiated allegations about matters which had not been proven against the neighbour.
CA (Crim Div) (Simon LJ, Langstaff J, Judge Cutler)
17 May 2016
An offender's conviction for assault occasioning actual bodily harm was safe notwithstanding deficiencies in the advice given by trial counsel leading to his decision not to give evidence; he had advanced a positive case of self-defence and a full self-defence direction had been given.
A challenge to the validity of a caution for actual bodily harm was refused as although the police had mistakenly described the victim as having a broken nose, and not in reality a suspected broken nose, overall there had not been a clear breach of the Ministry of Justice Guidance Simple Cautions for Adult Offenders para.76.
A suspended sentence of nine months' imprisonment, with an unpaid work requirement of 250 hours, along with a six-month curfew and 18 months' supervision, was upheld where the defendant had pleaded guilty to actual bodily harm after attacking his former girlfriend. However, the Crown Court judge had not had the power to revoke unpaid work requirements in an earlier suspended sentence imposed by a magistrates' court.
Failures in pre-trial investigation procedure did not affect the safety of the conviction of soldiers found guilty of kidnapping, sexual assault, theft and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The points raised had been put in such broad terms that it was impossible to gauge whether they contained any argument of merit, and they failed to reveal any persuasive reasons for concluding that the convictions were unsafe.
CA (Crim Div) (Cox J, Judge Bevan QC)
31 July 2015
A sentence of two years' imprisonment imposed for assault occasioning actual bodily harm during a football match was reduced to nine months imprisonment, and a £5,000 compensation order was quashed, as only one blow had been delivered to the victim and the sentencing judge had made inadequate investigation as to the defendant's means.
CA (Crim Div) (Treacy LJ, Cox J, Judge Pegden)
14 July 2015
A total sentence of 28 years' imprisonment following guilty pleas to murder and two counts of assault causing actual bodily harm was reduced to 25 years' where a judge had failed to have sufficient regard to the principle of totality.
The disclosure regime which required the claimant to disclose a 31 year-old conviction for assault occasioning actual bodily harm committed whilst he was a juvenile and for which he had received a two-year conditional discharge and had been bound over to keep the peace was not a disproportionate interference with his ECHR art.8 rights. Parliament was entitled to draw a line between ABH as an offence which should be disclosed and common assault which should not.
CA (Crim Div) (Macur LJ, Walker J, Judge Zeidman QC)
3 July 2015
Convictions for assault occasioning actual bodily harm were unsafe in circumstances where due process had not been followed prior to the admission of hearsay evidence.
CA (Crim Div) (NI) (Coghlin LJ, Weatherup J, Treacy J)
17 June 2015
It was appropriate to reduce a sentence of five years' imprisonment imposed on an offender for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and to reduce a sentence of two years and eight months' imprisonment imposed on his co-accused for aiding and abetting that offence, where the two had been involved in an incident during which a young female's head and eyebrows had been shaved while she was intoxicated. The sentences imposed were manifestly excessive and were reduced to sentences of four years and two years respectively.
A total sentence of 29 months' imprisonment imposed on an offender, comprising 13 months for attempted assault occasioning actual bodily harm and 16 months for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, was not unduly lenient. Given the failings in the way the case had been presented to the judge, no complaint could be made about the sentence imposed for the attempted assault, and the conspiracy to pervert the course of justice had only had limited effect.
CA (Crim Div) (Laws LJ, Gilbart J, Judge Tonking (Recorder of Stafford))
17 April 2015
A judge's failure to direct a jury that it should consider whether a young woman, only partly dressed at night time, had been entitled to use reasonable force to eject a drunken man from her bedroom while staying overnight at a friend's house, rendered the woman's conviction for common assault unsafe. A lawful occupier was entitled to use reasonable force in such circumstances.
Three consecutive four-year sentences of imprisonment imposed for three counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, but without discount for totality, was excessive, even though the circumstances were unusual for offences of that nature. The sentences were reduced to a total of nine years' imprisonment.
QBD (Admin) (William Davis J)
10 December 2014
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner's refusal to expunge a caution, given for an offence of actual bodily harm by a mother against her very young daughter, did not breach the mother's ECHR art.8 rights as it was a serious offence and was relevant information that a future employer should know about.
CA (Crim Div) (McCombe LJ, Supperstone J, Judge Goldstone QC (Recorder of Liverpool))
12 June 2014
Where there had been confusion during the jury's return of verdicts on four counts of an indictment against two co-defendants, and a verdict against a count of kidnap was not formally entered against one defendant, that defendant had not been convicted of kidnap. The court therefore ordered the Crown Court record to be amended accordingly and the defendant's sentence for kidnap was quashed.
CA (Crim Div) (Sharp LJ, Irwin J, Judge Peter Collier QC (Recorder of Leeds))
22 May 2014
A judge had not failed to direct a jury properly on the burden and standard of proof in relation to offences of false imprisonment, assault occasioning bodily harm and rape where he had effectively directed the jury that they had to make a choice whether to believe the evidence of the complainant or the defendants.
CA (Crim Div) (Elias LJ, Jeremy Baker J, Judge Radford (Recorder of Redbridge))
10 April 2014
In a case where the defendant had been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, the prosecution having alleged that he had injured the victim with a knife, prejudice had been caused by the late formulation of another possible route to verdict, namely that the injury had been caused with some other implement.
CA (Crim Div) (Laws LJ, Kenneth Parker J, Jeremy Baker J)
17 December 2013
A sentence of 10 months' imprisonment which had been imposed on the appellant following his plea of guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm was far from manifestly excessive; the offence, committed by a man with a history of offending and alcohol abuse, was a very serious one of its kind.
CA (Crim Div) (Davis LJ, Nicol J, Judge Elgan Edwards DL (Recorder of Chester))
22 November 2013
A starting point of over 12 months' imprisonment for affray was appropriate where, even though the judge had not been aware of the defendant's basis of plea which maintained self-defence, the serious consequences to the victim could not wholly be set aside. It was important that a defendant had his basis of plea in writing so that the Crown and the judge were aware of what he was prepared to admit.
CA (Crim Div) (Sharp J DBE, Griffith Williams J, Lindblom J)
19 November 2013
In a trial in which the defendant faced charges of assault and affray following a confrontation with a group of plumbers over a missing laptop, the judge had not erred in refusing applications to adduce bad character evidence in relation to two of the plumbers. Although the evidence was potentially relevant in determining the aggressor, it lacked probative value.
A judge who gave a "rolled up" direction incorporating a Watson direction had been attempting to ensure that the jury understood that their primary duty was to try to reach a unanimous verdict, and that the possibility of a majority verdict, while it existed, would not arise until they had been afforded a significant period of deliberation to assist them to do so. In the circumstances, the use of the Watson formula at that point had not placed the jury under any degree of improper pressure to bring in a verdict.
A sentence of four years' imprisonment was justified in the case of an offender who had been convicted of punching his girlfriend a number of times about the face and stomach. The offender's criminal record, which included violence against women, and the exceptional nature of the attack took the case outside the range of the relevant sentencing guideline.
CA (Crim Div) (Moore-Bick LJ, Coulson J, Sweeney J)
27 June 2013
Although a judge had erred in excluding "bad character" evidence which was to do with the alleged facts of an offence under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.98(a) rather than bad character, that error did not affect the safety of an offender's conviction for assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
CA (Crim Div) (Lloyd-Jones LJ, MacDuff J, Judge Cooke QC)
12 June 2013
A sentence of two years and six months' imprisonment was appropriate in the case of the appellant, who had pleaded guilty at a late stage to an offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm which had been committed against his long-term partner.
CA (Crim Div) (Elias LJ, Edwards-Stuart J, Judge Ford QC (Recorder of Bristol) )
12 June 2013
An offender on licence after conviction for sexual offences had been inappropriately sentenced, after a 13-month delay, to a community order for an assault on a police officer while in court. To avoid the risk that any breach of the order would return him to prison, the pragmatic approach in R. v Waters (Matthew Peter)  EWCA Crim 2538 was taken, and a sentence of six-months' imprisonment was substituted, which with time in custody would result in his immediate release.
CA (Crim Div) (Sir John Thomas (President QBD) , Foskett J, Hickinbottom J)
14 May 2013
A total sentence of four years and two months' imprisonment for an offender's four assaults on his partner properly reflected his criminality and was not manifestly excessive. Where someone was put in constant peril and fear in his own home as a result of repetitive domestic abuse, that was potentially a substantial aggravating factor for sentencing purposes; the aggravation was compounded where the perpetrator was in reality controlling the victim and abusing his position in the home and the victim was, in the domestic context, vulnerable.
CA (Crim Div) (McCombe LJ, King J, Judge Goldstone QC)
9 May 2013
The fact that the appellant had offered a conditional plea of guilty to an offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm did not justify reducing the sentence of two years' imprisonment which had been imposed on him; the assault had been vicious and prolonged, and the offence had several aggravating features.
CA (Crim Div) (Sir John Thomas (President QBD) , Cranston J, Leggatt J)
24 April 2013
When allowing an appeal by the Crown against a Crown Court's decision to stay an indictment on the basis of autrefois acquit, the Court of Appeal determined that the scope of a plea of autrefois should be narrowly confined to cases where the offences were the same in fact or law.
A sentencing judge had erred in failing to alert a young offender to the fact that he was minded to make a finding that he had used a weapon in an assault occasioning actual bodily harm before going on to sentence him, thereby denying the offender the opportunity to address him on the point. In those circumstances, it was appropriate to replace his sentence of nine months' detention with a suspended sentence of six months' detention.
CA (Crim Div) (Rafferty LJ, Underhill J, Sir Robert Nelson)
1 March 2013
An appeal against conviction for murder was dismissed where the trial judge had appropriately directed the jury in response to requests for guidance on the meaning of reasonable doubt. The 26-year minimum term imposed had reflected slightly too much importance placed on the offender's previous conviction for assault occasioning actual bodily harm committed while on remand and a minimum term of 25 years was substituted.
CA (Crim Div) (Sir John Thomas (President QBD) , Swift J DBE, Stuart-Smith J)
28 February 2013
A sentence of 18 months' imprisonment imposed for an offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm was reduced to 14 months to account for the offender's early guilty plea, despite the fact that he had admitted the offence only when shown the CCTV footage, which was overwhelming evidence that he had punched a stranger, unprovoked, in the street.
CA (Crim Div) (Rafferty LJ, Gloster J, Calvert-Smith J)
20 February 2013
A judge had not erred in refusing to conclude that there was no case to answer where there were inconsistencies between witnesses, as the question of what had happened was a classic question for the jury. However, by not mentioning in his summing up the points that were arguable for the defendant, the conviction for assault was rendered unsafe.
CA (Crim Div) (Toulson LJ, Griffith Williams J, Stuart-Smith J)
20 February 2013
In a case of a sustained, vicious and degrading assault, a discount for a guilty plea at the plea and case management hearing of near 11 per cent was too low; 20 per cent was likely to be appropriate even in an overwhelming case without admissions from a defendant at the police interview, considering the Sentencing Guidelines and the decision in R. v Caley (David)  EWCA Crim 2821, (2013) 177 J.P. 111,
Hostility towards a person's sexual orientation as an aggravating factor justifying an increase in sentence under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.146 referred to the fact of a person being heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual, and did not cover a preference towards particular types of sexual acts or practices, such as paedophilia.
CA (Crim Div) (Jackson LJ, Globe J, Judge Beaumont QC (Recorder of London))
14 January 2013
A sentence of two years' imprisonment for an offence of actual bodily harm was appropriate in circumstances where the aggravating features of the offence justified a departure from the sentencing guidelines.
CA (Crim Div) (Aikens LJ, Andrew Smith J, Judge Rook QC)
29 November 2012
A judge had erred in admitting hearsay evidence on the basis of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.116(2)(e) where his decision that the witness would not give evidence "through fear" was itself based largely on hearsay evidence of transcripts of an earlier trial and accounts by others of the witness's state of mind. The judge had also erred in his consideration of whether the hearsay evidence should be admitted in the interests of justice under s.116(4).
A conviction for assault occasioning actual bodily harm was quashed as a judge had erred in refusing a submission of no case to answer where the only identification evidence had been substantially undermined during oral evidence and had been obtained via a procedure which did not satisfy the PACE codes of practice Code D.
CA (Crim Div) (Pitchford LJ, Hickinbottom J, Stuart-Smith J)
6 November 2012
R. v Lees-Wolfenden (Danielle Jayne)  EWCA Crim 3068,  1 Cr. App. R. (S.) 119 should be read as meaning that "a supervision requirement" as defined by the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.213 was not mandatory, although the period during which requirements ran was referred to in s.189(1A) of the 2003 Act as "the supervision period". Section 189 merely required one or more of the requirements listed in s.190 to be incorporated into the order and, by virtue of s.190(1)(a), a requirement for supervision was just one of those.
When sentencing a 17-year-old offender, a judge had failed to give him the opportunity to put forward evidence that his basis of plea was a tenable version of events. The imposition of an 18-month detention and training order for affray, actual bodily harm and criminal damage was manifestly excessive in the circumstances. In view of his age and personal mitigation, a youth rehabilitation order was appropriate.
Although "necessary" was not used in the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 s.5, it was implicit from the Human Rights Act 1998 that a restraining order could be imposed only if necessary: its terms would impinge on the subject's private life and would only comply with the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 art.8 if they were necessary.
The convictions of two soldiers of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and actual bodily harm on a joint enterprise basis were quashed where neither defendant had the protection of a direction on joint enterprise or self-defence and where the findings of fact of the Court Martial Board did not support the allegation of joint enterprise from the outset.
Even though a judge had provided that the sentence she imposed could be amended administratively and retrospectively should it transpire that the number of days credit given for time spent on remand was incorrect, an application under the slip rule was necessary, because the subsequent amendment reduced the credit to zero. That changed the judge's order from a direction under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.240(3) to the absence of such a direction, and it had done so without the judge's knowledge.
A sentence of 27 months' imprisonment imposed on a 61-year-old offender for one offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against a 63-year-old victim was manifestly excessive. The victim's injuries were serious in the context of the offence, but a sentence of 18 months' imprisonment was appropriate in the circumstances.
When activating a suspended sentence it was not always appropriate to reduce the term of the suspended sentence even where an offender had completed all or part of the community requirements attached. A judge had been entitled to activate a suspended sentence in full where the offender had not demonstrated any significant change in his behaviour, despite attending a drug and alcohol treatment programme.
A sentence of four-and-a-half years' imprisonment imposed following an offender's conviction for false imprisonment of his next-door neighbour was manifestly excessive, despite an element of enticement and bullying, given the relatively short duration of the period of imprisonment. The appropriate sentence was three years and nine months' imprisonment.
CA (Crim Div) (Griffith Williams J, Edwards-Stuart J)
6 July 2012
The appropriate starting point for an offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm by a 28-year-old offender of previous good character, where there had been an intention to cause much more serious harm than was actually inflicted, and where the offence therefore straddled categories 1 and 2 of the relevant sentencing guideline, was 15 months' imprisonment. In the instant case, six months was deducted to reflect good character and strong personal mitigation and one month for a plea of guilty on the day of trial.
CA (Crim Div) (Rafferty LJ DBE, Bean J, Judge Beaumont QC (Recorder of London))
26 June 2012
A sentence of detention for public protection imposed on a 20-year-old for offences of kidnapping and false imprisonment was quashed and a determinate sentence of six years' detention substituted where the pre-sentence report had given undue weight to previous robbery offences committed by the offender in his youth and where the offences in the instant case did not justify the imposition of an indeterminate sentence on a stand-alone basis.
CA (Crim Div) (Sir John Thomas (President), Collins J, Calvert-Smith J)
20 June 2012
A sentence of imprisonment for public protection with a specified period of almost four years was appropriate in the case of a 28-year-old offender who had pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent and to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, the offences arising from street violence between rival groups of young men.
A total sentence of 15 months' imprisonment was appropriate in the case of an offender who had pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He had deliberately armed himself with a knife and then provoked a fight, using the knife in the course of that fight.
CA (Crim Div) (Stanley Burton LJ, Hedley J, Judge Russell QC (Recorder of Preston))
29 May 2012
A sentence of imprisonment for public protection was quashed and a determinate sentence substituted where there had been insufficient information or evidence before the sentencing judge when assessing the offender's dangerousness to justify a finding that he presented a significant risk of serious harm to the public, as required under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.229.
A total sentence of three years' imprisonment for aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified and assault occasioning actual bodily harm was appropriate for an offender who had an appalling record for similar offences and who had deliberately used a stolen vehicle as a weapon against a police officer acting in the course of duty.
CA (Crim Div) (Stanley Burnton LJ, Maddison J, Judge Russell QC (Recorder of Preston))
24 May 2012
Where an offender had committed offences of assault and theft while on licence, a sentence which ordered his return to custody pursuant to the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 s.116 to serve the remaining months of a manslaughter sentence, such period to run from the date of commission of the assault and theft offences, and to be followed by concurrent sentences in respect of those offences, was unlawful. There was no power to backdate the operation of a s.116 order to the date of the most recent offences or to any other prior date.
CA (Crim Div) (Stanley Burton LJ, Spencer J, Recorder of Manchester )
20 October 2011
A conviction for assault occasioning actual bodily harm was quashed where the Crown's reliance on hearsay evidence in the form of victim witness statements and a transcript of the victim's emergency telephone call to the police had circumvented the restrictions on hearsay evidence in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 as the Crown should have taken reasonable steps to secure oral witness evidence.
A sentence of three years and three months' imprisonment was appropriate where an appellant with relevant previous convictions had pleaded guilty to a serious offence of unlawful wounding, and a further offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm committed while on bail for the first offence.
CA (Crim Div) (Moses LJ, Simon J, Judge Gilbert QC)
28 July 2011
Additional evidence for the defence was admitted and considered in an appeal against convictions for assault occasioning actual bodily harm and criminal damage, even though the evidence could have been called before the jury, where it formed a powerful basis for casting doubt on the essential prosecution case, and rendered the convictions unsafe.
There had been no basis for excluding the evidence of a prosecution witness who had made a withdrawal statement after her police interview, which then stood as her evidence in chief, and who had been compelled to face cross-examination by the defence.
CA (Crim Div) (Sir Anthony May (President QB), Hickinbottom J, Thirlwall J)
16 June 2011
Where an offender had been convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, following an altercation which was out of character and unlikely to be repeated, it had not been manifestly excessive for the court to impose a suspended sentence of six months' imprisonment with requirements of 140 hours of unpaid work, a curfew and a requirement not to contact the complainant. However, an exclusion from licensed premises was unnecessary and disproportionate.
CA (Crim Div) (Hughes LJ, Rafferty J DBE, Maddison J)
6 August 2010
Convictions of two co-accused for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, false imprisonment and kidnap were unsafe where the judge had not warned the jury that a failure to conduct an identity parade in respect of one of the victims might have caused prejudice to one of the co-accused, and where witness evidence obtained after conviction was admissible and might have affected the jury's verdict in relation to the other co-accused.
CA (Crim Div) (Maurice Kay LJ, Calvert Smith J, Cranston J)
1 July 2010
In a clear case a judge ought to direct a jury to treat a defendant with only an old and irrelevant conviction as being a person of good character entitled to a good character direction. Whilst a judge had fallen into error by leaving to the jury the issue of whether a defendant was of good character, it was likely that the jury had accepted her good character and her conviction for assault occasioning actual bodily harm was not rendered unsafe.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Judge LCJ, David Clarke J, Lloyd Jones J)
29 April 2010
A community order imposed on an offender following his guilty plea to aggravated burglary and assault occasioning actual bodily harm was unduly lenient. The offender had a significant criminal record and there were a number of aggravating features, including the fact that the burglary took place in the early hours of the morning while the family were asleep and the use of a screwdriver as a weapon.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Judge LCJ, David Clarke J, Lloyd Jones J)
27 April 2010
Bearing in mind that to be lawful the use of force had always to be reasonable in the circumstances, it might be open to the owner of a vehicle, in the last resort and when all reasonably practicable alternatives had failed, forcibly to remove an individual who had entered his vehicle without permission and who refused to leave it. In the circumstances of the instant case, however, the driver's resort to self help was not justified and his use of force was unlawful.
CA (Crim Div) (Jackson LJ, Gross J, Judge Baker QC)
31 March 2010
A total sentence of two years' imprisonment imposed following guilty pleas to one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and two counts of causing damage to property was not manifestly excessive. Although a reduction in sentence was appropriate in relation to the criminal damage offences, that reduction had no practical significance on the total sentence as the reduced sentences remained concurrent to the two-year sentence imposed for the assault.
CA (Crim Div) (Hooper LJ, Mackay J, Griffith Williams J)
24 February 2010
Although the judge had come close to usurping the functions of the jury in his summing up when giving a character direction, the offenders' convictions for robbery, kidnapping, fraud and assault occasioning actual bodily harm were safe given the strength of all the evidence against them.
In cases involving domestic violence, a concentration upon physical injury, as encouraged by a superficial application of the table included in the Sentencing Guidelines Council's Definitive Guideline in relation to assault, could lead to the undervaluing of the seriousness of the offence, which caused pernicious and significant damage to the quality of life of the offender's partner and children.
CA (Crim Div) (Hooper LJ, Openshaw J, Judge Cooke QC (Recorder of Cardiff))
9 February 2010
After putting into the balance an early plea of guilty, personal mitigation and a significant history of offending, the court considered a sentence of six months' imprisonment to be appropriate for an offender who had recklessly discharged an air rifle, causing facial injuries to a bystander.
CA (Crim Div) (Hughes LJ (V-P) , Mackay J, Davis J)
21 October 2009
Where the precise concatenation of events leading up to offences of murder, wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm and assault occasioning actual bodily harm was not specifically foreseen by the group who committed the offences but what had occurred was within their contemplation, common enterprise was made out.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Judge LCJ, Penry-Davey J, Keith J)
15 October 2009
The House of Lords decision in R. v Coutts (Graham James)  UKHL 39,  1 W.L.R. 2154 required the criminal courts to take a new approach to the problem of alternative verdicts. Applications made for leave to appeal out of time, following a trial that had taken place before the decision in Coutts and where the appeal was based on the judge's failure to leave an alternative verdict to the jury, would be treated as if they represented change-of-law cases as identified in R. v Cottrell (Steven)  EWCA Crim 2016,  1 W.L.R. 3262.
CA (Crim Div) (Moses LJ, Openshaw J, Judge Rook QC)
9 October 2009
A conviction for assault occasioning actual bodily harm was safe even though the victim's account had been shown to be false in part, as there was incontrovertible evidence independent of the victim's evidence, and the judge had been right to leave the case to the jury. No guidance could be obtained from other cases where it had, or had not, been proper to withdraw a case.
CA (Crim Div) (Maurice Kay LJ, Silber J, Burnett J)
17 September 2009
A recorder had erred in revoking a suspended sentence order and requiring the offender to serve half the suspended term because of incidents of non-compliance with its supervision requirements where, overall, there had been substantial compliance, there were suitable explanations for the incidents of non-compliance, and out-of-date comments made in the original pre-sentence report had erroneously been taken into account.
A conviction for causing grievous bodily harm with intent was quashed where a judge had erred in failing to leave to the jury a lesser alternative verdict of assault occasioning actual bodily harm which there was evidence to support.
CA (Crim Div) (Goldring LJ, Bean J, Recorder of Kingston-Upon-Hull)
4 August 2009
When sentencing an offender to a two-year custodial term for an offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, the judge had been right to give considerable weight to his previous convictions for violence.
CA (Crim Div) (Richards LJ, Cranston J, Judge Bevan QC)
31 July 2009
A detention for public protection with a minimum term of two years imposed on a 17-year-old boy following his guilty pleas to wounding with intent and assault occasioning actual bodily harm was quashed as the judge had misunderstood the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and had failed to consider an extended sentence. A total extended sentence of six years' detention with a custodial term of four years and an extended licence period of two years was appropriate.
CA (Crim Div) (Hallett LJ DBE, Foskett J, Hickinbottom J)
14 July 2009
A total sentence of four years and three months' detention imposed for wounding with intent, perverting the course of justice, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm was manifestly excessive and was reduced to two years and nine months' detention due to the exceptional circumstances, namely the existence of extreme provocation.
CA (Crim Div) (Scott Baker LJ, Mackay J, Beatson J)
27 March 2009
A total sentence of eight years' imprisonment imposed on an offender following his pleas of guilty to charges of false imprisonment, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, rape and assault by penetration was unduly lenient and was replaced with a sentence of imprisonment for public protection with a minimum term of five years, as the offender had a very bad record and clearly posed a risk of serious physical and psychological harm to the public.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Judge LCJ, Irwin J, Wyn Williams J)
26 March 2009
A sentence of one year's imprisonment imposed for racially aggravated assault occasioning actual bodily harm was not unduly lenient, as the offender had been sentenced with several others who had been subject to statutory restrictions owing to their age, and the sentences had to be proportionate to avoid unfair disparity.
CA (Crim Div) (Moses LJ, Ousley J, Griffith Williams J)
30 January 2009
A conviction for assault occasioning actual bodily harm was upheld where the judge had rightly allowed a single previous conviction for common assault to be adduced to show propensity, even though the case for the prosecution was based on weak identity evidence. Allowing the previous conviction had not rendered the conviction unsafe, as the judge had dealt with the issue with care and clarity in his directions to the jury.
CA (Crim Div) (Moses LJ, Dobbs J DBE, Griffith Williams J)
23 January 2009
A sentence of detention for public protection imposed following a plea of guilty to robbery was upheld, as even though the provisions of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 made the duration of that sentence unlawful just weeks after the offender had been sentenced, the law at the time he was sentenced had to be followed and his sentence was imposed correctly.
Sentences of imprisonment for public protection with minimum terms of 10 years and eight years' respectively imposed for an atrocious set of offences including firearms offences, offences against the person and causing another to engage in sexual activity without consent were not manifestly excessive.
CA (Crim Div) (Scott Baker LJ, Burnett J, Judge Roberts QC)
19 June 2008
A sentence of imprisonment for public protection with a minimum term of three years and 172 days, imposed for two counts of rape, was upheld but the minimum term was reduced to two years and 172 days because the judge had not made a satisfactory reduction for the offender's co-operation with the prosecution in an unconnected murder trial.
CA (Crim Div) (Moore-Bick LJ, Openshaw J, Sir Richard Curtis)
3 April 2008
A judge had not adhered to his indication of sentence and, therefore, having regard to the circumstances of the case, a suspended sentence of 12 months' detention for assault occasioning actual bodily harm was replaced with a community order with an unpaid work requirement of 150 hours.
CA (Crim Div) (Sir Igor Judge (President QB), Davis J, David Clarke J)
28 February 2008
A spiked metal object, which was wired to the roof of a shed so that when the shed door was opened it activated and the force of gravity caused it to swing down and catch the person entering through the door, was an "other engine" for the purposes of the offence of setting a mantrap with intent contrary to the Offences against the Person Act 1861 s.31 .
CA (Crim Div) (Hooper LJ, Blake J, Dame Heather Steel)
22 February 2008
A judge had a duty to have regard to appropriate sentencing guidelines in accordance with the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.172, and where there were guidelines it was expected that an explanation would be provided in the judge's reasons where they were departed from. It was appropriate to reduce a notional determinate sentence of 16 years for two counts of robbery and two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm to 14 years.
Taking into account the mitigating features in the defendant's plea, a judge had erred in imposing a custodial element of two-and-a-half-years in an overall sentence which, with an extension period, amounted to five years' imprisonment for assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
In a case where an individual had alleged misconduct in public office and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, there was sufficient material identified for a magistrates' court to issue summonses in respect of those allegations.
The judge had erred in imposing a sentence of imprisonment for public protection on a 23-year-old man who had pleaded guilty to offences of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, robbery, and robbery and assault by beating, as the statutory presumption of dangerousness did not arise and he had failed to consider whether there was a significant risk of the offender committing further specified offences, whether serious or not, and whether there was a significant risk of harm to members of the public by reason of the commission of such offences. The appropriate determinate sentence, in view of the offender's age, previous good character and the nature of the offending, was one of five years' imprisonment.
In a matter where a youth was alleged to have assaulted his victim occasioning actual bodily harm, the youth court's conclusion that the witness evidence was weak and inconsistent and that there was therefore no case to answer had been wrong and perverse.
CA (Crim Div) (Hughes LJ, Wyn Williams J, Judge Richard Brown)
14 November 2007
A judge had been entitled to impose a deferred sentence on a young offender who had been convicted of racially aggravated assault occasioning actual bodily harm, affray and possession of an offensive weapon, even though the threshold for passing a custodial sentence had been passed.
A restriction order made pursuant to the Mental Health Act 1983 s.41 was quashed where there was insufficient evidence to justify the conclusion that the order was necessary for the purpose of protecting the public from serious harm and where the court had departed, without explanation, from medical recommendations that the order was not required.
A custodial term of three years' imprisonment imposed on an appellant who pled guilty to counts of burglary and actual bodily harm was not manifestly excessive; however, the court was unable to spell out a basis for the judge's finding of dangerousness based on the appellant's pattern of offending and accordingly quashed that part of the sentence which imposed an extension period.
A sentence of imprisonment for public protection with a specified term of 18 months, which had not been lawfully imposed, was replaced by a five-year extended sentence comprising a custodial term of three years and an extension period of two years, on the basis that the latter sentence was not more onerous than that originally imposed.
A sentence of imprisonment for public protection with a minimum term of four years and six months was justified in the case of the appellant, who had shown escalating violence in the commission of a number of offences over a three-month period.
CA (Crim Div) (Pill LJ, Hedley J, Calvert-Smith J)
4 October 2007
The judge was entitled to approach the issue of an appellant failing to mention in interview a defence eventually put forward as he did; there had been no real possibility that the failure to give a direction under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 s.34 had led to a conviction which would not otherwise have occurred.
CA (Crim Div) (Hooper LJ, Underhill J, Griffith Williams J)
4 October 2007
A total custodial sentence of five years and four months' imprisonment imposed on the appellant, whose offences included specified violent offences, was well merited and in no way excessive; however, to ensure that the total extension period was no longer than that which was needed to protect the public and did not make the appellant liable to an extended sentence of imprisonment which was much longer than his offending warranted, the court ordered that the extended sentences be served consecutively to other determinate sentences.
An award of compensation made following a guilty plea to an offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm was reduced, as it exceeded the amount that would have been awarded in civil proceedings and also to take account of provocation by the victim.
CA (Crim Div) (Dyson LJ, Forbes J, Judge Rogers QC)
26 June 2007
A judge had been correct to apply the statutory assumption of dangerousness to an offender under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.225, and the criticism of probation service tools used in the compiling of a pre-sentence report was unfounded.
A person convicted in the Crown Court of common assault on a count of actual bodily harm might only be dealt with in a manner in which the magistrates' court could have dealt with him. The Crown Court was, therefore, limited to imposing an aggregate sentence of six months' imprisonment.
The imposition of two consecutive extended sentences totalling 10 years, consisting of an overall custodial term of five years' imprisonment and a total extended licence period of five years, for offences of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and unlawful wounding, was manifestly excessive, given the level of violence and injury. Two concurrent extended sentences, comprising an overall custodial term of four years and a total extended licence period of two years, adequately reflected the offender's overall criminality and the seriousness of his behaviour.
To convict a defendant of assault occasioning actual bodily harm on a victim who had already been injured by others, it was only necessary for some injury resulting in actual bodily harm to have been caused by his assault; it was not necessary to identify which particular injury he had caused.
An appeal against an extended sentence was dismissed where the offender's violent history made it an appropriate case for an extended sentence, the trial judge after hearing the evidence was in the best position to determine whether a discount should be allowed for a guilty plea and the prolonged period of terrifying violence meant that the sentence was not manifestly excessive.
CA (Crim Div) (Hooper LJ, David Clarke J, Dame Heather Steel)
8 February 2007
A judge had been correct to permit the Crown to adduce bad character evidence where he had provided the jury with an adequate direction concerning that evidence and had fairly reflected weaknesses in the Crown's case during his summing up.
CA (Crim Div) (Sir Igor Judge (President), Gray J, Ramsey J)
23 January 2007
A sentence of two years' imprisonment for causing grievous bodily harm with intent and assault occasioning actual bodily harm was unduly lenient where the offender had acted in an extraordinarily violent manner in what could be considered a revenge attack.
CA (Crim Div) (Nelson J, Moses LJ, Judge Griffith Williams QC)
15 January 2007
Although the overall management in the lead up to and during a trial had been inadequate, there had been an abundance of evidence against a defendant to the extent that the jury's verdicts could not be brought into question.
CA (Crim Div) (Keene LJ, Walker J, Recorder of Birmingham)
8 December 2006
A judge who had deferred for six months the sentencing of a young offender who had pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and grievous bodily harm had failed to take into account the gravity of the offences and was mistaken in thinking that she was obliged to respect a supervision order imposed three days previously for a less severe offence.
A defendant could be criminally liable for an offence of assault if she neither entered the premises in which the assault took place nor struck any blow nor provided any active encouragement while the offence took place. A magistrates' court had been entitled to find that an offender had been party to a joint enterprise to attack the victim where the offender had watched the incident and had not done anything to stop it.
Where the Crown Prosecution Service sought to replace a count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against the claimant with a count of assault occasioning grevious bodily harm, and the magistrates' court had previously dismissed a charge of actual bodily harm based on the same facts, the claimant was entitled to rely on the defence of autrefois acquit and the magistrates' court had erred in not allowing him that defence.
CMAC (Rose LJ (V-P), David Clarke J, Christopher Clarke J)
3 March 2005
Where there was no evidence to support a suggestion that a defendant had acted by way of a pre-emptive strike there was no requirement for a direction in that regard. In circumstances where a tribunal must have known that if a defendant had acted instinctively he could not have been found guilty there was no requirement for a specific direction to be given as to the reasonableness of force where there was no other option.
Where a defendant presented a significant risk to the public, particularly when abusing alcohol, it was inevitable that a longer than commensurate sentence would be passed along with consecutive sentences, making a total sentence of imprisonment of six years and six months for offences of affray and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
The trial of an accused charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm was a nullity where the court had failed to follow the procedure set out in the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 Sch.3 para.9 or Sch.3 para.10 for selecting the mode of trial.
In all the circumstances a total sentence of 30 months' detention for robbery and assault occasioning actual bodily harm was unduly lenient. A sentence of four years' detention would be substituted to reflect double jeopardy.
Where identification was the sole issue the judge had to make sure that the full force of the Turnbull direction was conveyed. The Judicial Studies Board specimen direction was the briefest permissible summary of the dangers inherent in identification evidence.
A maximum sentence of two years' imprisonment imposed in respect of the racially aggravated element of an offence of racially aggravated assault occasioning actual bodily harm was reduced on the basis that the evidence relating to that element of the offence was not overwhelming and the defendant was accordingly entitled to some credit for his guilty plea.
The defendant's convictions of causing grievous bodily harm and dangerous driving were unsafe as, when summing up, the judge had misrepresented his defence as duress of circumstances when the actual defence was accident.
In all the circumstances a sentence of three years for assault occasioning actual bodily harm and possession of an offensive weapon was not manifestly excessive as the judge had correctly approached the matter as a totality decision. Domestic violence should be treated no differently from any other type of violence.
CA (Crim Div) (Clarke LJ, Elias J, Judge Rivlin QC)
11 May 2004
A judge erred by failing to reconsider the issue of whether or not a defendant should give evidence whilst handcuffed when the original order was made by consent, but that consent had been withdrawn following the defendant's decision to represent himself.
CA (Crim Div) (Pill LJ, Poole J, Sir Charles Mantell)
23 April 2004
The defendant's convictions for assault occasioning actual bodily harm were safe as there had been nothing logically inconsistent with the jury's failure to reach a verdict in relation to a co-accused. The summing up had been fair and balanced.
Three of the defendants' sentences for aggravated vehicle taking were manifestly excessive given their early guilty pleas and would each be reduced by six months. The second defendant's sentence would not be reduced as it could not be seen why his sentence was significantly shorter than the others', given his late plea. His sentence of six months, ordered to run consecutively for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, was not manifestly excessive.
Although the judge should have allowed the defendant to cross examine the victim under s.41 Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999, the conviction for indecent assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm was safe as even if the questions had been asked the victim would have denied the allegations and the judge would have directed that the questions provided no basis on which to convict.
Given the requirement for a proper deterrent effect and, in all the circumstances of the case, a sentence of seven months' detention in a young offender institution for a racially aggravated assault was unduly lenient. The appropriate sentence was one of 30 months' detention, comprising 21 months for the assault and nine months for the racially aggravated element.
CA (Crim Div) (Mance LJ, Forbes J, Roderick Evans J)
15 March 2004
A sentence of nine months for assault occasioning actual bodily harm was not manifestly excessive as it was clear that the judge had taken into account the defendant's mitigation and had heavily discounted the sentence accordingly.
A total sentence of three years for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, racially aggravated common assault and assaulting a police officer was not manifestly excessive. Given that the offences occurred in a hospital there had to be a considerable element of deterrence in deciding the length of any sentence.
A judge had been entitled to allow a trial for counts of indecent assault, rape and assault occasioning actual bodily harm to proceed although an investigation into complaints regarding the appellant carried out over ten years earlier had concluded with a decision not to prosecute. Given the alleged sequence of events and the nature of the allegations made, the judge had been entitled to give a direction that the evidence of each of the complainants was capable of mutually supporting each other.
The clear effect of the Criminal Justice Act 1967 s.67(1) was that, where a community rehabilitation order or a community punishment order was made either singly or in combination and an offender, having breached it, was resentenced and given a custodial sentence for the original offence, any period on remand before the order was made did not count towards that custodial sentence.
A conviction for assault occasioning actual bodily harm was safe as the judge was entitled to indicate what the law was regarding hostile witnesses and to remind the prosecution of its duty to decide whether a witness could be presented as reliable. The judge correctly exercised his discretion in refusing to discharge the jury following the arrest of a witness as the jury were aware of his criminal record and the judge had directed accordingly.
Where a person, by act or word, created a danger and thereby exposed another to a reasonably foreseeable risk of injury which materialised, there was an evidential basis for the actus reus of an assault occasioning actual bodily harm, although it remained necessary for the prosecution to prove an intention to assault or the appropriate recklessness.
CA (Crim Div) (Dyson LJ, Mitting J, Judge Fabyan Evans)
29 October 2003
There had been no inconsistency where defendants had been convicted of violent disorder but acquitted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm as threats of violence made were distinct from the assault and the judge had directed the jury to reach separate verdicts. Hearsay evidence was wrongly admitted but it did not render the conviction unsafe.
Balham Youth Court had erred in granting a second adjournment in the prosecution of the claimant for assault occasioning actual bodily harm in circumstances where the only two prosecution witnesses had not given credible reasons for their failure to attend.
A community punishment and rehabilitation order was unduly lenient for an offence of attempted robbery, assault and criminal damage. Although in the circumstances a four-year sentence would have been appropriate, the court had to take into account the fact that it was sentencing for a second time and make a reduction accordingly.
The fact that the judge passed a lesser sentence on a co-defendant who took a more serious part in an affray was not a reason to interfere with the custodial sentence passed on the appellant, which was not manifestly excessive.
Offences of street crime inevitably crossed the custody threshold. However, the court was always entitled to consider the sentence most suitable, taking into consideration the nature of the offence and the offender.
An appropriate sentence for assault occasioning actual bodily harm depended upon the particular circumstances of the case. A custodial sentence was inevitable where there had been a serious unprovoked attack in a public place and the appellant had a history of creating disturbances. A 12 month sentence in those circumstances was not excessive.
A sentence of eight months' imprisonment for assault occasioning actual bodily harm for a man who, after a long drinking session threw a bottle which cut a barman's head, was not manifestly excessive despite his previous good character, his early guilty plea and his contrition.
A longer-than-normal sentence imposed under s.2(2)(b) Criminal Justice Act 1991 (and subsequently s.80(2)(b) Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000) was a single determinate sentence and the product of a judicial decision, and as such it was not subject to the requirements of periodic review contained within Art.5(4) European Convention on Human Rights. * Leave to appeal to the House of Lords granted.
CA (Crim Div) (Waller LJ, Pitchers J, Judge Crawford QC)
30 April 2002
Given that the appellant suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, and the disturbing history of the case, a total of three years' imprisonment for two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm was manifestly excessive.
Where there had been sufficient evidence to charge an accused but no decision had been made to charge him irrespective of his account and where there had been no breach of Code of Practice C, an adverse inference could be drawn from the accused's no comment interview.
CA (Crim Div) (Auld LJ, Newman J, Roderick Evans J)
19 March 2002
Sentences of three-and-a-half and four years' imprisonment were upheld in relation to prison officers' assaults against a prisoner. Prisoners were entitled to the protection of the law from assaults on them and society was entitled to the proper discharge of a prison officer's responsibilities.
There was neither a statutory obligation nor a requirement of fairness that a specific period of credit should be given for time spent on remand to an offender sentenced to a detention and training order.
The decision of the Court of Appeal in R v Fennell (2000) 2 Cr App R 318 was approved. Criminal damage was an either way offence punishable on conviction, on indictment, with a maximum sentence of ten years' imprisonment irrespective of the value of the damage caused.
CA (Crim Div) (Goldring J, David Steel J, Rose LJ)
21 January 2002
Where the respondent had threatened to kill the victim following the end of their relationship, and had broken into her parents' house and assaulted her and her father, a total sentence of two-and-a-half years' imprisonment was unduly lenient and was quashed and substituted with a total term of four years.
CA (Lord Woolf of Barnes LCJ)
14 December 2001
Tariff review of a youth sentenced to detention at Her Majesty's pleasure after being convicted of murder. Where the appropriate tariff for an adult was found to be 14 years the appropriate tariff for a 15-year-old for the same offence was ten years.
CA (Crim Div) (Waller LJ, Curtis J, Roderick Evans J)
19 November 2001
Although two jurors had been overheard discussing the case on a bus, in particular the alleged prejudice against the defendant by a member of the jury, the convictions were safe because of the judge's direction to consider the verdicts only on the evidence.
CA (Crim Div) (Sir Ian Kennedy, Recorder of Liverpool)
18 October 2001
Where there was the prospect that the appellant would turn away from his offending on his release from prison, a total sentence of 12 years' imprisonment for a series of robberies on mini-cab drivers was manifestly excessive and was quashed and substituted with a total term of ten years.
Concurrent sentences of four years' imprisonment on each of four offences of causing grievous bodily harm with intent were unduly lenient where the defendant had injured police officers by ramming their cars with his vehicle and were substituted with terms of five years.
Total sentences of 18 months' imprisonment for two offences of robbery, where the respondents had kept the victims captive in cars and had intimidated them with future violence, were unduly lenient and were quashed and substituted with terms of four and a half years and two and a half years respectively.
CA (Crim Div) (Buxton LJ, Crane J, Common Serjeant, Judge Beaumont QC)
23 July 2001
Where the appellant had confronted police officers with a gun, with the intention of being shot at, a sentence of two-and-a-half years' imprisonment for possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence was not manifestly excessive.
In extradition proceedings the potential issue of violation of the European Convention of Human Rights in relation to the death penalty arose when the Secretary of State for the Home Department decided whether to extradite. It was premature to raise the issue at the committal hearing. * Leave to appeal to the House of Lords refused.
Although the sentencing judge had not considered whether there were exceptional circumstances when imposing a mandatory life sentence on an offender who had committed a second serious offence, no such circumstances existed.
A sentence of eight years' imprisonment for rape and assault occasioning actual bodily harm where a husband had brutally raped his wife, who had consented to such activity in the past, was not excessive.
In an unsuccessful appeal by way of case stated, the magistrates were correct to stay the criminal proceedings against the respondent as an abuse of process where the police had failed to disclose the terms of an interview on the basis of which the respondent had been offered a caution.
CA (Crim Div) (Laws LJ, Sir Oliver Popplewell, Judge Goddard QC)
12 June 2001
In an unsuccessful appeal against conviction, the appellant's conviction was not unsafe even though the trial judge had quashed that part of the indictment charging his alibi witnesses with doing an act tending or intended to pervert the course of justice prior to the appellant's trial.
CA (Crim Div) (Mantell LJ, Penry-Davey J, Judge Rivlin QC)
25 May 2001
A sentence of three years' imprisonment for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, where the appellant had attacked two men in an unprovoked and gratuitous attack, was not manifestly excessive or wrong in principle.
Sentences of 18 months' imprisonment for offences relating to an attack carried out by three men on one man inside a pub were manifestly excessive and were quashed and substituted with terms of 12 months.
It was inappropriate to pass a longer than normal sentence, under s.2(2)(b) Criminal Justice Act 1991, consecutively to another sentence imposed on the same occasion. However, there was nothing inappropriate, but, on the contrary, it may be desirable, for a longer than normal sentence to be passed consecutively, either to a sentence passed on an earlier occasion or to a period of return ordered under s.40, which was the consequence of a sentence passed on an earlier occasion.
Where the prosecution sought to replace a count of common assault with a count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and had offered no evidence in relation to common assault, the appellant was entitled to rely on the defence of autrefois acquit when faced with the charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm based on the same facts.
For the purpose of the defence of reasonable chastisement, the jury should be directed to consider the nature and context of the defendant's behaviour, its duration, its physical and mental effects on the child, the age and personal characteristics of the child, and the defendant's reasons for the punishment.
CA (Crim Div) (Longmore LJ, Eady J, Judge Colston QC)
5 April 2001
After hearing all the evidence at trial, a judge had the power to rule that there was no case to go before the jury if he was satisfied that no properly directed reasonable jury could safely convict on that evidence.
CA (Crim Div) (Longmore LJ, Eady J, Judge Colston QC)
29 March 2001
A sentence of five years' imprisonment for indecent assault was not manifestly excessive where the appellant had forced the victim to have oral sex with the co-accused, who had received the same sentence for the same offence.
In an appeal against a three-and-a-half-year sentence for two offences of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and one of kidnapping, whilst the assaults fortunately failed to result in severe injuries, the attacks were serious and justified a substantial sentence. However, considering the issue of totality, the sentence passed was manifestly excessive and accordingly was substituted with a term of three years' imprisonment.
Neither the appointment of permanent presidents nor part-time judge advocates to courts martial breached the right to a fair trial guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights because there was no reason to doubt their independence and impartiality. * Appeal from this decision dismissed by the House of Lords in Boyd & Ors v Army Prosecuting Authority & Ors (2002) UKHL 31.
CA (Crim Div) (Otton LJ, Douglas Brown J, Judge Stephens QC)
21 December 2000
The defendant's appeal against child abuse convictions was dismissed because the trial judge had correctly taken a pragmatic approach, in keeping with the common law and human rights jurisprudence, to whether public interest immunity was required for social services files.
DC (Waller LJ, Sir Edwin Jowitt)
21 December 2000
In a successful challenge to a decision to discontinue a prosecution, no reasonable prosecutor could have considered it impossible to rebut the defendants' suggestion of self-defence even though there was no independent evidence.
CA (Crim Div) (Waller LJ, Douglas Brown J, Judge Stephens QC)
20 December 2000
In a successful appeal against sentence, the judge should not have imposed a longer than normal sentence under s.2(2)(b) Criminal Justice Act 1991 because there was no evidence that it was necessary to protect the public from serious harm.
HL (Lord Steyn, Lord Cooke of Thorndon, Lord Clyde, Lord Hutton, Lord Hobhouse of Woodborough)
14 December 2000
The House of Lords overruled the decision of the Court of Appeal that DNA samples that should have been destroyed under s.61 Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 were not admissible in a trial for a separate matter. DNA evidence obtained as a result of the prohibited investigation was admissible, but s.64(3B)(b) of the Act had to be read in conjunction with s.78 of the Act, and under s.78 there was a discretionary power to exclude that evidence if it was unfair to admit it.
CA (Crim Div) (Henry LJ, Hooper J, Goldring J)
29 November 2000
A direction as to circumstances where manslaughter could be found in a murder trial, given well after the jury retired and just as they were about to present their verdict, did not render a conviction for murder unsafe.
CA (Crim Div) (Henry LJ, Hooper J, Goldring J)
8 November 2000
The appellant was equally as responsible as his co-accused for an attack on a defenceless man. However, the fact that the injuries caused by his co-accused were far greater than those caused by the appellant meant that he should have received a shorter sentence.
CA (Crim Div) (Mantell LJ, Henriques J, Judge Fawcus)
9 October 2000
The defendant successfully appealed against the imposition of a restriction order under s.41 Mental Health Act 1983 because s.37(2)(a) of the Act required a doctor giving evidence to provide the court with a reason to impose a restriction order.
CA (Crim Div) (Rose LJ, Astill J, Richards J)
2 October 2000
A sentence of 30 months' imprisonment was unduly lenient for a series of attacks that displayed a repetition of criminal behaviour. A sentence of six to seven years' imprisonment was appropriate with a discount, where a defendant had provided a statement to the police implicating another man in a serious assault.
CA (Crim Div) (Rose LJ, Hallett J, Rafferty J)
13 September 2000
Six month detention and training orders were appropriate where two 16-year-old defendants with a number of previous convictions had pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and had been held on remand for 124 days prior to sentencing.
CA (Crim Div) (Rose LJ, Newman J, Rafferty J)
11 August 2000
Where a complainant had made an allegation of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against defendants who argued self defence and had not disclosed that he himself had a pending hearing for a public order offence, such a factor was unlikely to undermine a conviction. At its highest, the offence was pending and what the jury had to consider was when, and in what circumstances, the aggression in the instant case arose.
CA (Crim Div) (Swinton Thomas LJ, Butterfield J, Rafferty J)
26 May 2000
Where DNA profile evidence from earlier, unrelated and discontinued proceedings had been retained in breach of s.64 Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, a conviction based on subsequent DNA evidence obtained only as a result of that breach was unsafe and would be quashed. Overruled in Attorney-General's Reference No.3 of 1999 (2000) LTL 14/12/2000.
CA (Crim Div) (Henry LJ, Alliott J, Henriques J)
25 May 2000
Appeal against a conviction for aggravated vehicle taking and three assaults occasioning actual bodily harm was allowed as a result of fresh evidence of expert video analysis.
CA (Crim Div) (Henry LJ, Alliott J, Henriques J)
15 May 2000
Defendant's appeal against actual bodily harm conviction dismissed because: (i) any inconsistency in the jury's verdict had not been Wednesbury unreasonable; and (ii) the inappropriate admission of evidence of the defendant's dismissal from his employment after unsubstantiated allegations of racism against him had not prejudiced his case because the alternative count of racially motivated assault had been rejected by the jury.
CA (Crim Div) (Mantell LJ, Penry-Davey J, Judge Fabyan Evans)
15 May 2000
The defendant appealed against his life sentence for 23 offences of sexual abuse against five adolescent boys. The appeal was allowed only to the extent that his specified period was reduced to take account of the time that he spent remanded in custody.
CA (Crim Div) (Rose LJ, Ian Kennedy J, Hallett J)
9 May 2000
In an unsuccessful appeal against conviction where the appellant had been charged, inter alia, with racially aggravated criminal damage, the judge had been entitled to put an alternative and lesser charge of simple criminal damage to the jury without amending the indictment to add an additional count as criminal damage was not triable only summarily. Accordingly, R v Burt (1996) 161 JPN 77 was decided per incuriam.
CA (Crim Div) (Henry LJ, Hidden J, Astill J)
19 April 2000
There must be a proper factual basis before a direction under R v Sheehan & Anor(1960) 60 Cr App R 308, in respect of drunken intent, was required.
CA (Crim Div) (Roch LJ, Smith J, Moore-Bick J)
10 April 2000
A conviction for buggery pre-Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 did not equate to rape within the meaning of s.2(5)(e) Crime (Sentences) Act 1997; the defendant's appeal against his life sentence was allowed.
CA (Crim Div) (Wright J, Judge Colston QC)
24 March 2000
In an appeal against a total sentence of three years and ten months' imprisonment for offences of criminal damage, threatening behaviour, unlawful wounding and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, whilst the individual sentences for each offence were not manifestly excessive, the totality was too long and accordingly, by ordering concurrent sentences on specific offences, the total sentence was reduced, resulting in a term of two years and ten months' imprisonment.
CA (Crim Div) (Rose LJ, Klevan J, Jackson J)
21 March 2000
In an appeal against a sentence of eight months' imprisonment for one offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, whilst there was a need to emphasise deterrence in discouraging violence of this type, having regard to the decision in R v Ollerenshaw (1999) 1 Cr App(S) 65, the sentence was excessive and was accordingly substituted with a term of six months' imprisonment.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Bingham of Cornhill LCJ, Alliott J, Newman J)
20 March 2000
In an appeal against a total sentence of 15 months' imprisonment for offences of theft and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, whilst the sentence could not in any way be described as manifestly excessive or wrong in principle, in view of the appellant's personal circumstances and the need to care for her five dependant children, the Court of Appeal would exercise its mercy and compassion and substitute her sentence with a term of six months' imprisonment, thereby guaranteeing her immediate release.
CMAC (Henry LJ, Hidden J, Astill J)
23 February 2000
In appeals against conviction for offences of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, the Court of Appeal was of the view that, in its experience, where the question was of a victim's pure credibility, there was no substitute for seeing and hearing the actual evidence first hand. Accordingly, in the circumstances, no lurking doubt could be raised as to the safety of the convictions and the appeals were dismissed.
CA (Crim Div) (Pill LJ, Wright J, Crane J)
14 February 2000
In considering a submission of inconsistency of verdicts, the Court of Appeal was entitled to have regard to a view expressed by the trial judge.
CA (Crim Div) (Rose LJ, Potts J, Curtis J)
14 February 2000
In dismissing an appeal against a sentence of two months' detention, the Crown Court was imposing a sentence on the appellant. It was impermissible for the court to combine a probation order with an immediate custodial sentence since that was inconsistent with the purpose and spirit of s.2(1) Powers of Criminal Courts Act 1973.
CA (Crim Div) (Rose LJ, Potts J, Curtis J)
11 February 2000
In appeals by both appellants against 12-month sentences for cruelty to children, having regard to all the circumstances of the case including the fact that as a consequence of the neglect one of the children died, such sentences would not be regarded as manifestly excessive or wrong and the appeals of both appellants were dismissed.
CA (Crim Div) (Otton LJ, Owen J, Judge Rhys Davies QC)
18 January 2000
In an appeal against conviction for offences of kidnapping, possession of an imitation firearm and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, prejudice must have occurred as a result of the jury being wrongfully made aware of the appellant's previous convictions and accordingly the conviction was unsafe and would be quashed.
CMAC (Beldam LJ, Dyson J, Richards J)
18 January 2000
Drawing attention in examination-in-chief to the fact that a prosecution witness was of good character, whereas the defendant was not, was unfair and made the conviction unsafe.
CA (Crim Div) (Beldam LJ, Dyson J, Richards J)
14 January 2000
Where the central issue in a case was whether the accused or the Crown witnesses had told the truth, then the jury would not be assisted by any general direction about drawing inferences of guilt from a finding that the evidence of the accused or his witnesses was untrue.
CA (Crim Div) (Mantell LJ, Klevan J, Judge Martin Stephens QC)
13 January 2000
Following fresh evidence, it was clear that a mistake about identity could have occurred, which was sufficient in the circumstances to quash the conviction.
CA (Crim Div) (Rose LJ, Tucker J, Judge Rant QC)
25 November 1999
A sentence of three-and-a-half years' imprisonment for an offence of sustained and racially aggravated actual bodily harm by a defendant with a substantial record of violence was not manifestly excessive. The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 gave up to two years' additional imprisonment for racially motivated offences.
CA (Crim Div) (Waller LJ, Johnson J, Latham J)
19 November 1999
In an unsuccessful appeal against conviction for rape, the complainant's inconsistent evidence had been properly left to the jury and the verdict was not unsafe even though the appellant had been acquitted of another count of rape.
CA (Crim Div) (Tuckey LJ, Sachs J, Judge Rant QC)
18 November 1999
First defendant's appeal and second defendant's application for leave to appeal against conviction for causing actual bodily harm were dismissed. The application for leave to appeal would have been granted had there been arguable grounds, even though it was out of time.
CA (Crim Div) (Clarke LJ, Bell J, Nelson J)
17 September 1999
An unsuccessful appeal against sentence where, despite the sentencing judge's failure to give credit expressly for the appellant's early guilty pleas, the sentence imposed suggested such credit had been given.