MITIGATION

DC (Leggatt LJ, May J)
5 February 2020

A 61-year-old man who had posted on his Facebook page photographs purporting to be of the convicted murderers Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, in breach of a worldwide injunction prohibiting the publication of their identity, was given a sentence of four months’ imprisonment suspended for two years.

[2019] NICA 64
[2019] NICA 64
CA (NI) (Stephens LJ, Treacy LJ, Keegan J)
22 November 2019

Although a sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment for possession of prohibited weapons and possession of guns and ammunition was unduly lenient, it did not follow that the sentence had to be quashed. A judge erred in reducing the sentence to take into account the guilty plea and then reduce again to take into account the mitigation. However, it was unfair to increase the sentence which would require the offender to return to prison especially as in the instant case the Prosecution sought to advance a new case.

[2019] EWCA Crim 2095
[2019] EWCA Crim 2095
CA (Crim Div) (Holroyde LJ, William Davis J, Judge Lodder QC)
19 November 2019

A judge had erred when imposing a life sentence on an offender already serving an extended determinate sentence, in setting the minimum term to run from the expiry of the custodial element of the extended sentence rather than from the offender’s earliest release date from that sentence.

[2019] EWCA Crim 2282
[2019] EWCA Crim 2282
CA (Crim Div) (Nicola Davies LJ, Jacobs J, Judge Lodder QC)
14 November 2019

A sentence of 20 months’ detention imposed following a guilty plea to causing serious injury by dangerous driving was reduced to 14 months to reflect the young offender’s personal mitigation, including his age, inexperience, injuries and remorse. He was six weeks short of his eighteenth birthday at the time of the offence and, in reducing the sentence, the court took account of the guideline for sentencing children and young people, which referred to appropriate sentences where a significant age threshold was passed.

[2019] EWCA Crim 1881
[2019] EWCA Crim 1881
CA (Crim Div) (Simon LJ, William Davis J, Sir Kenneth Parker)
25 October 2019

A total sentence of 12 years’ imprisonment, comprised of consecutive sentences of seven years for five offences of human trafficking and five years for four offences of supplying drugs, was appropriate for a 21-year-old offender considering his relative youth and the fact that he had no real criminal history.

[2019] EWCA Crim 1917
[2019] EWCA Crim 1917
CA (Crim Div) (Holroyde LJ, Julian Knowles J, Judge Dean QC)
8 October 2019

A sentence of three years and nine months’ imprisonment imposed following a guilty plea for the supply of morphine tablets was severe but not manifestly excessive in an unusual case where the supply had led to the death of the defendant’s friend. It was a serious aggravating factor that the defendant had been highly reckless in supplying a drug that he knew that in modest overdose was likely to kill, to a man who was intoxicated and unlikely to heed his warning to take no more than one tablet.

CA (Crim Div) (Singh LJ, Fraser J, Thornton J)
10 September 2019

Notwithstanding that the disclosure of private sexual photographs by posting through a victim’s letterbox and that of her close neighbours had been intended to cause distress and the judge had been entitled to impose an immediate custodial sentence, insufficient account had been taken of the offender’s health and personal circumstances and the distinction between the antecedent history of the two offenders. A sentence of eight months was manifestly excessive; it was quashed and a sentence of six months’ imprisonment was substituted.

[2019] EWCA Crim 1538
[2019] EWCA Crim 1538
CA (Crim Div) (Gross LJ, Stuart-Smith J)
3 September 2019

A sentence of 16 months’ imprisonment imposed on a man in his early 20s who had shared indecent images of children with workmates on a building site, but had done so for shock value and had no unhealthy interest in children, was suspended on appeal. An immediate custodial sentence was disproportionate where the possession and distribution had been limited, he had acted out of extreme stupidity, was of previous good character and where his mother was dependent on him financially and as her carer.

[2019] EWCA Crim 1296
[2019] EWCA Crim 1296
CA (Crim Div) (Davis LJ, Warby J, Judge Potter)
9 July 2019

A sentence of two years’ imprisonment for possession of a Taser disguised as a torch was upheld where proper account had been taken of exceptional and mitigating circumstances justifying a departure from the mandatory minimum sentence of at least five years’ imprisonment pursuant to the Firearms Act 1968 s.51. A deterrent sentence was required, and in view of the appellant’s bad character there was no justification for suspending the sentence.

[2019] EWCA Crim 1372
[2019] EWCA Crim 1372
CA (Crim Div) (Davies LJ, Martin Spencer J, Judge Picton)
5 June 2019

A total sentence of two years and eight months’ imprisonment was appropriate in the case of a socially reclusive fantasist who had pleaded guilty to 13 charges of posting 86 threatening, abusive or insulting social media messages with intent to stir up racial and religious hatred over a six-day period in the run-up to the 2016 Brexit referendum.

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