Sentencing Guidelines - Offences
Manslaughter on ground of diminished responsibility and 2 X possession of a firearm with intent – planned killing of offender’s father – impaired judgement – assessed as presenting further risk of serious harm – whether life sentence necessary – whether ICS adequately considered – whether 10 yr. tariff appropriate – whether conclusion that responsibility was relatively high correct – fresh medical evidence received on appeal establishing lower culpability – ICS with specified period of 7 years substituted for manslaughter and two with specified period of 4 for firearms convictions.
DPP reference – Possession of class A/B drugs with intent to supply – significant quantities of class A with high value – 3 defendants – determinate sentences of 5 yrs., 4 yrs., and 3 yrs. (6 custody plus 2½ on licence) – unduly lenient – substituted with 6½ yrs., 5 yrs., and 2yrs. (12 month plus 12 months) – earlier NI guidelines affirmed.
Sexual Assault by penetration together with Common Assault, Criminal Damage and Possession of Class B Drug – digital penetration and further degradation of victim in her home accompanied by acts of violence and destruction. Total sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment plus 18 months on licence – appeal refused and sentence upheld – recent definitive Guideline from E&W considered – need for victim’s medical reports to be supported by notes and records underlined.
AOABH contrary to s. 47 OAPA 1861 and common assault (co-def. aiding and abetting) – shaving victim’s hair and eyebrows while she was in alcohol induced stupor – done over two nights – striking her on the face – filming/photographing the offending – 5 year ECS manifestly excessive and replaced with determinate 4 year sentence.
False accounting contrary to s. 17(1)(a) Theft Act (NI) 1969 - false statements contrary to s. 105A(1) of the Social Security Administration (NI) Act 1992 – imposition of confiscation orders – whether court had jurisdiction order under POCA 2002 – whether amounts confiscated proportionate – Held that 2002 Act applied but amounts disproportionate and new amounts substituted.
Fraud by false representation – whether probation element of combination order wrong in principle – probation element quashed and guidance given on proper procedure.
Sexual activity with a child – 3 year determinate sentence comprising 18 months’ imprisonment and 18 on licence – 5 year SOPO – Sentencing Court’s reliance on Sentencing Council Guidelines – guidance from decided authorities in NI more reliable than Council Guidelines - 2 year sentence substituted – 12 & 12 – whether SOPO proportionate – that issue remitted to trial court to reconsider.
Robbery contrary to s. 8(1) Theft Act (NI) 1969 and AOABH contrary to s 47 of the Offences Against Person Act 1861 – whether finding of dangerousness justified – whether indeterminate custodial sentence justified – appeal allowed solely in respect of indeterminate sentence which is ‘a sentence of last resort’ – extended custodial sentence substituted.
Possession of indecent child images contrary to Article 3 of the Protection of Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 – SOPO made under s.104 Sexual Offences Act 2003 – whether SOPO terms oppressive/disproportionate.
Multiple counts of cruelty/neglect/assault on and gross indecency with the female offender’s children – necessity to protect children/deter those who might cause them injury – cases of repeated actions more serious than single incident – combination of consecutive/concurrent sentences – regard to totality principle which can be arrived at by different routes – no error in sentencing detected – appeal refused.
Reference under s. 36 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 – terrorist murder of police officer life imprisonment for adult offender – application of minimum tariff – 25 years not unduly lenient – detention at Her Majesty’s pleasure for youth offender – minimum term of 14 years unduly lenient – limited mitigation for youth in serious violent offence of this nature – tariff of 18 years substituted.
Burglary – attempted burglary – obstruction – limited relevance/applicability of Guidelines from Sentencing Guidelines Council in E&W – including cases of sexual offending.
Appeal against sentence – aggravated burglary and criminal damage – use of indeterminate custodial sentence – disposal of last resort – necessity of prior inquiry: can public protection be achieved under extended sentence scheme? – appeal allowed and extended sentence substituted.
Application for leave to appeal against sentence – careless driving causing death having consumed excess alcohol – 3 years’ determinate custodial sentence – 18 months’ custody/18 months’ licence – level of consumption of alcohol aggravating factor – leave refused.
Making/possession of explosives – s. 3(1)(b) Explosive Substances Act 1883) – DPP’s Reference – sectarian motivation – 2 years’ probation and 100 hours’ community service – sentencing recommendation in victim impact statements not to form basis for reassessing sentencing – while deterrent custodial sentences normally required for sectarian violence the individual circumstances meant the sentence should not be interfered with.
R v Gareth Edward Marcus, DPP Ref (No 1 of 2013), Reference under Section 36 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988
Possession of explosives – s. 3(1)(b) Explosive Substances Act 1883) – causing an explosion likely to endanger life or to cause injury to property – s.2 Explosive Substances Act 1883 – DPP’s Reference – sectarian motivation – need for deterrent sentencing – 4 years’ imprisonment suspended for 3 years – unduly lenient but not interfered with.
First instance sentencing remarks.
R v Robert McKeown, Edward Lynn and Stephen Ferris, Director of Public Prosecution’s References (numbers 13, 14 and 15 of 2013)
3 references by DPP – whether sentencing unduly lenient - convictions for riotous assembly contrary to common law - disturbances following decision about frequency of flying Union flag outside Belfast City Hall – first guideline case from NI Court of Appeal on riotous assembly – 2 references allowed.
R v Todd Newton, Ruari Doey and Steven Doherty Director of Public Prosecution’s Reference (numbers 8, 9 & 10 of 2013)
Reference by DPP - attempted grievous bodily harm with intent – gratuitous violence by young males 2 of the 3 still children – s. 53 Justice (NI) Act 2002, Art. 45(2) Criminal Justice (Children) (NI) Order 1998 and Beijing Rules all considered - sentences substituted.
Causing GBI by careless driving – dangerous driving – perverting the course of justice – almost invariably requires immediate consecutive sentence – suspended sentences inappropriate in this case – sentencers need to consider whether exceptional circumstances exists in serious offending before suspending.