Sentencing Guidelines - Offences
Murder - inebriated victim - burglary - 78 stab wounds to various parts of body - higher starting point - many aggravating features - tariff fixed at 16 years.
Murder - drunken state - attacked 2 flatmates with hurley stick causing multiple fractures - stabbed 3rd flatmate 10 times causing death - higher starting point - had intended to attack victim - armed himself with the knife in preparation - alcohol and anger management issues - previous convictions for offences of violence (including robbery and rape) - tariff fixed at 13 years.
Firearms Offences - whether sentence is unduly lenient - double jeopardy.
Murder - 41 year old female victim (girlfriend) - domestic argument - hit repeatedly over the head with a blunt object (edge of hatchet) - claimed he and the victim had been drinking - could not remember hitting her - at trial claimed he suffered from mental impairment - does not fit comfortably into normal or higher starting point category - lengthy criminal record for violent offences - tariff fixed 14 years.
Murder - 33 year old male victim - assaulted after disagreement over £20 debt - denied being present - forensic evidence placed him at scene - higher starting point - culpability exceptionally high - prolonged, merciless assault - intention to kill - strong deterrent element - drinking, not drunk - 3rd person present had attempted to restrain - lengthy criminal record, conviction for violence - contested charge - no evidence of genuine remorse - made progress while in prison - tariff fixed at 16 years.
Murder - male victim (previously had affair with prisoner's wife) - shot dead - claimed shooting was an accident - normal starting point - jury rejected suggestion firearm was discharged other than deliberately - some provocation - lured victim to remote house - knew he could obtain access to firearm - some attack was intended - tariff fixed at 13 years.
Murder - husband victim - single stab wound to chest - intoxicated - initially alleged third party attack - then claimed self-defence - evidence prisoner had a violent temper - previously offered money to friend to murder her husband - normal starting point - a dispute between two people known to each other - still maintains that it was drunken accident - killing was a deliberate act - no pre-meditation - little evidence of genuine remorse - contested her guilt over two trials - tariff fixed at 12 years.
Murders - two paramilitary gun murders - convicted on his own confession - higher starting point - planned and pre-meditated - illegal firearms - armed in advance - undoubted intention to kill - medical condition - full admission of guilt - youth of offender (21) - tariff fixed at 15 years.
Murder - ex-girlfriend in England - she went to his flat - strangulation - took an overdose - eventually asked neighbours to call ambulance - trial judge imposed tariff of 12 years - reduced by Home Secretary to 10 - normal starting point - attempts to clear the crime scene; attempt at deception by preparation of suicide notes - suggestion of prior domestic violence, but no clear evidence - tariff fixed at 11 years.
Rape, attempted rape and indecent assault
Conditions justifying the imposition of discretionary life sentences.
AG referral of sentence as unduly lenient - armed robbery of rural post office - section 8 (1) Theft Act (Northern Ireland) 1969 – considerable violence used - taking a motor vehicle without consent Art. 172 Road Traffic (Northern Ireland) Order 1981- offender heavily pregnant when sentenced – no PSR obtained despite offender’s request - sentence unduly lenient - 27 month sentence substituted for custody probation order (2 years’ custody & 18 months’ probation).
R v Trevor McCandless, Stephen Anthony Johnston, Paul James Johnston, Samuel Anderson, Kenneth John Scott
Adoption of Practice Statement of Lord Woolf CJ.
Firearms (NI) Order 1981 - possession of firearms and ammunition in suspicious circumstances - burden of proving lawful object - sentence.
Appeal against sentence of six years imprisonment - attempted burglary - habitual criminality - credit for guilty plea - whether sentence manifestly excessive - appeal allowed - sentence reduced.
AOABH - s.47 of Offences Against the Person Act 1861 - prosecution proposed summary trial - effect on sentence.
Indecent assault - several child victims over many years - concurrent/consecutive sentences
Unduly lenient sentence - rape and indecent assault - totality
Reference by AG of sentence as unduly lenient – 3 years’ probation concurrent with earlier equivalent sentence for similar offending – possession/possession with intent to supply Class A & B drugs – unusual circumstances for ‘supply’ – offender responding well to addiction treatment on probation - sentence lenient but not unduly so.
Robbery - Amateurish robbery of small business - need for deterrence - substitution of immediate custodial sentence for a non-custodial one.