Sentencing Guidelines - Offences
Reference by DPP NI under S. 36 Criminal Justice Act 1988 as amended by S. 41(5) Justice (NI) Act 2002 – whether sentence of 5 months’ custody unduly lenient - sexual assault of a child under 13 contrary to Article 14 of the Sexual Offences (NI) Order 2008 – whether failure to impose a SOPO unduly lenient – sentence quashed and SOPO imposed.
Reference by DPP under s. 36 Criminal Justice Act 1988 – whether sentence for attempted murder unduly lenient - appropriate sentencing range for offence of attempted murder - adherence to statutory test in considering imposition of suspended sentences - need for care in assessment of dangerousness - original sentence unduly lenient and substituted – appeal allowed.
Sexual offence prevention orders - applications made to Crown Court in respect of variations, renewals and discharge, and appeals thereafter to the Court of Appeal - demarcation between appeals in respect of SOPOs imposed as part of sentence and appeals in respect of variations, renewals and discharges - need for SOPO's to be carefully formulated
appeal against determinate sentence of 13½ years with extended licence period of 3 years – s. 18 GBH with intent to a 2 year old child – violent punch to head – significant brain injury and right-sided hemiplegia – wheelchair bound and visually impaired – sentence not manifestly excessive – appeal dismissed – McAuley and Seaward distinguished – court underlined vulnerability of very young children
Murder x 2 – whether reduction in tariffs for guilty plea appropriate –guidance given on range of appropriate discount and approach to be taken by sentencers.
Reference by DPP under s.36 Criminal Justice Act 1988 (as amended) – gross negligence manslaughter – various breaches of health & safety at work (‘H&S’) provisions – deceased falling from roof of agricultural shed – 15 months’ imprisonment suspended for 3 years – whether suspended sentence unduly lenient – immediate sentence of 24 months (12 & 12) substituted for manslaughter and concurrent sentence of 6 months for each H&S offence.
Appeal against sentence – rape contrary to Article 5(1) of the Sexual Offences (NI) Order 2008 – common assault contrary to s. 47 OAPA 1861 – whether sentence for rape (ECS – 9 years in custody plus 2 on licence) manifestly excessive and/or wrong in principle – whether judge justified in concluding that there was significant risk of serious harm etcetera – Kubik applied – contesting the prosecution not an aggravating factor – Gilbert distinguished on the facts – appeal allowed – ECS of 7 plus 2 substituted.
Application to extend time for leave to appeal sentence – murder – 20 year tariff – Plus: 1. attempted murder; 2. possession of shotgun; and, 3. handgun both with intent to endanger life – discretionary life sentences with concurrent tariffs of 20 years’ imprisonment for each offence. Planned professional killing – McCandless reaffirmed – extension of time refused on murder count and tariff on mandatory life sentence left undisturbed – tariffs of 10, 8 & 8 years’ imprisonment respectively substituted in the remaining offences extension of time and leave having been granted on those counts.
Reference by DPP under s. 36 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 - causing death by dangerous driving plus dangerous driving, failing to provide a specimen, failing to stop and failing to remain contrary to the Road Traffic (NI) Order 1995 - 7 year sentence (3 1/2 in custody and 3 1/2 on licence) - whether starting point too low - whether consecutive sentences required - whether too great a discount for plea - whether mitigation too generous - reaffirmation that all aggravating and mitigating factors to be considered first in arriving at starting point before giving discount for plea - personal mitigation less relevant in deterrent sentence - allowing for double jeopardy sentence of 9 years (4 1/2 plus 4 1/2) substituted.
Appeal against sentence - AOABH contrary to s. 47 OAPA 1861 - 4 year sentence (2 in custody and 2 on licence) - whether starting point excessive - whether route to sentence unconventional/at risk of double counting - whether sufficient discount for plea - whether sufficient weight given to indicators of positive change - whether failure to take adequate account of fact that offence could have been prosecuted summarily - Appeal allowed - appellant pregnant - 'significant factors' meant a 2 year probation order would be substituted.
Appeal against 4 year Determinate Custodial Sentence, comprising 2 years custody and 2 years on licence - conspiracy to defraud - setting up and operation of websites which permitted the viewing of films in breach of copyright and the advertising revenue - sections 327(1)(a) and 329 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 - appeal dismissed - principles derived and applied from first instance sentencing remarks, the Court of Appeal (E&W) and Sentencing Guidelines Council.
Appeal of part of sentence - causing grievous bodily injury by driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration - whether judge correct to impose three year disqualification - whether judge correct to impose extended driving test requirement - appeal allowed - disqualification period of 12 months substituted - requirement for extended driving test removed.
Appeal against sentence - historic sexual abuse - discretionary life sentence - whether necessary to make finding of unstable character - whether offences sufficiently grave - whether likely future offending must be sex offences - whether alternative protective sentence could be imposed - appeal dismissed.
Possession of explosives with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to property contrary to s. 3(1)(b) of the Explosive Substances Act 1883 - reiteration of principles governing guilty pleas – need for counsel to correct any misapprehension on court’s part as to timing of guilty plea –recourse to be had to the ‘slip rule’ under s. 49(2) of the Judicature (Northern Ireland) Act 1978 when appropriate – sentence left undisturbed.
Offences of depositing, keep and treating controlled waste under Article 4 Waste and Contaminated Land (NI) Order 1997 – aggravating factors correctly identified – starting point should first be identified by sentencers – 12 month determinate custodial sentence (6 & 6) substituted for the earlier 18 month sentence.
Rape contrary to Article 5(1) of the Sexual Offences (NI) Order 2008 – continued application of Sentencing Advisory Panel’s 2002 Guidelines – medical evidence of impact on victim must be such as to establish to a rigorous standard – extended custodial sentence of 9 years replaced with a determinate custodial sentence of 7 years - 3½ in custody and 3½ on licence.
Appeal against sentence – rape contrary to Article 5(1) of the Sexual Offences (NI) Order 2008 (19 years’ imprisonment) and attempted rape (15 years) plus 46 other counts (9 counts of gross indecency 2 years’ imprisonment, 9 of common assault 12 months, 8 of false imprisonment 9 years, 4 of threats to kill 9 years, 7 of indecent assault 9 years and 9 of cruelty to children 7 years all concurrent – whether sentence wrong in principle/manifestly excessive having regard to the Sentencing Council Guidelines and NI Guidelines – whether there had been inadequate deduction because of delay - whether there had been a failure to have regard to the absence of offending from 2004 – McCaughey and Smith approach to Sentencing Council Guidelines reaffirmed and appeal dismissed.
Wounding with intent to commit GBH (ECS 9 plus 3) threats to kill (9 plus 1 concurrent) – both lower harm and lower culpability required for lower starting point in s.18 OAPA 1861 offence – McAuley and Seaward guideline clarified – however sentencing court’s starting point here of 11yrs. was too high in a case of low harm – 9 yr. custodial element reduced to 7 – dangerousness finding approved and 3 yr. extension left undisturbed.
Wounding with intent X2; common assault X2; and false imprisonment – domestic violence – culpability high but degree of harm low – ECS of 6 plus 4 for each wounding – court underlined need to identify domestic setting as aggravating feature – dangerousness considered – delay between conviction and sentence held to be breach of Article 6 but aggravation outweighed this – appeal refused.