Sentencing Guidelines - Offences
Sentencing remarks – collecting or making a record of information likely to be useful to a terrorist – home searched – documents found – collected or made a security debrief about recovery by police of firearms, ammunition and explosives – criminal record denotes commitment to violent republicanism – multiple sclerosis a point in mitigation – personal circumstances carry limited value in terrorism cases – 5 year sentence reduced to 4 years in light of multiple sclerosis – contested charge – lost prospect of credit for guilty plea – the application of Morgan and others v Ministry of Justice  UKSC 14 to sentencing in terrorism offences discussed and found to be directly applicable to the facts
A judgment of the UKSC on appeal from NI in which it was unanimously held that section 30 of the Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Act 2021, which inserted Article 20A into the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2008, is compatible with article 7 and article 5 of the ECHR.
Guidance provided on sentencing for two equally serious offences on a concurrent basis applying the totality principle - GBH with intent – sexual assault by penetration of a 12 day old baby – whether sentence manifestly excessive – starting point – dangerousness - culpability and harm high – whether premeditation – no mitigation save for guilty pleas – sentence not manifestly excessive – exceptional circumstances – appellant provided no explanation or offered remorse – appeal dismissed
Death by careless driving – struck and fatally wounded pedestrian on pedestrian crossing - whether 12-month sentence manifestly excessive - whether trial judge made an error of double counting – appeal dismissed – court confirmed R v Doole  NICA 11 remains the leading sentencing guideline case in relation to death by careless driving.
Application to appeal sentence – cultivation of cannabis – abstracting electricity – assisting unlawful immigration – perverting the course of justice – three cannabis factories – strategic control of substantial, sophisticated and highly profitable enterprise – whether sentence for cannabis factory counts too high – whether three year consecutive sentence on top of already stiff sentence manifestly excessive – totality – deterrent sentence of 12 years appropriate – proper global sentence 13 years – leave granted – appeal allowed – sentence perverting the course of justice reduced to 1 year consecutive to other counts – total custodial sentence 13 years
actual bodily harm – stabbing with nail scissors – whether sentence manifestly excessive and/or wrong – whether level of culpability unsupported by basis of plea – finding of dangerous – whether VOPO necessary – terms of extended custodial sentence licence – right to a fair trial – burden of proof on prosecution in sentencing process – compilation of pre-sentence reports – duties owed by counsel to sentencing court – emphasis on the importance of the accuracy of the basis of plea document – court adopted the principles in R v Cairns  EWCA Crim 467 - appeal granted
guidance in relation to sentencing for rape with aggravating features - appeal against sentence - whether sentence of 20 years plus five years extended term manifestly excessive - rape whilst unconscious – did not disclose previous convictions - grievous bodily harm - attempting to choke - previous rape - no remorse - blamed victim for her injuries – starting point – transparency – methodology of sentence – sentence beyond usual range and may be unprecedented in this jurisdiction – high culpability and high harm with myriad of aggravating factors – appropriate custodial term is one 18 years – no fault in 5 year extension period
Appeal against an extended custodial sentence of 24 years imprisonment with an extension period of 5 years – preparation of acts of terrorism - whether the sentencing judge had erred in principle by basing his approach on the guidelines as stated in R v Kahar  EWCA Crim 568 rather than the SGC Guideline – whether NICA should formulate guidelines for sentencing of offences under section 5(1) of the Terrorism Act 2006 - whether the sentence is manifestly excessive– whether the judge erred in deciding that the appellant is dangerous - sentencing judge was not obliged to apply the SGC Guideline - the judge was entitled to base sentencing on R v Kahar in the absence of NICA guidance - no merit in the challenge to the starting point – no merit in the challenge to the judge’s assessment of mitigating factors – no error in the assessment of dangerousness – held not appropriate for NICA to formulate guidance for section 5(1) cases - sentencing judges at liberty in section 5 cases to consider R v Kahar and the SGC Guideline – appeal dismissed
Appeal against sentence – convicted of murder of a senior prison officer and causing an explosion with intent to endanger life – joint enterprise – mandatory life sentence with 22 year minimum term prior to release at first instance – appeal against minimum tariff of 22 years – application to extend time – whether trial judge was wrong to conclude that there was nothing by way of personal mitigation giving rise to a reduction in sentence - R v McCandless  NICA 1 confirmed as leading authority on sentencing in murder cases – high culpability – high harm – case fell within the very serious category – planned – politically motivated – use of explosive device a highly aggravating factor – terrorist crimes involving serving police or prison officers can expect sentences of upwards of 20 years – personal mitigation is likely to be of limited if any value – no merit in appeal - application to extend time refused - appeal dismissed
unlawfully displaying force and making an affray - grievous bodily harm with intent and possession of an offensive weapon – whether starting point too high - 33 previous criminal convictions in Republic of Ireland - medium likelihood of reoffending - knife – whether starting point of nine years is excessive - judge may have incorrectly described it as a starting point - significant aggravating factors - duration of incident limited - sentence not manifestly excessive – appeal dismissed
guidance in relation to sentencing in cases involving multiple incidents of domestic violence - Using motor vehicle without insurance, Assault occasioning actual bodily harm, Common assault, Attempted criminal damage, Possession of an offensive weapon - other convictions and caution for common assault against mother and partner - pending prosecutions in Republic of Ireland - consideration of aggravating and mitigating factors together to reach starting point prior to discount for plea - overall sentence imposed on appellant is not manifestly excessive
DPP reference to the Court of Appeal for unduly lenient sentence – whether sentence unduly lenient – aggravated burglary and stealing, common assault and criminal damage – substantial criminal record - planned criminal enterprise - late pleas of guilty – sentence varied
Appeal against sentencing at re-trial – whether sentence manifestly excessive - Sexual Offences Prevention Order - indecent assault on children – sentences affirmed – SOPO discharged
appeal against sentence and DPP’s Reference – terrorist offences – causing explosion and attempted murder – 20-year ECS with 4-year extension period – whether sentence manifestly excessive or unduly lenient – intent - sentencing of the trial judge unsustainably generous – substitution by a sentence of 25 years’ imprisonment accompanied by 4-year extension period
renewed application for leave to appeal a determinate custodial sentence - Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm – strangulation - starting point - discount for the plea - whether discount should have been applied because of the Covid pandemic – appeal dismissed
Common assault contrary to s. 47 OAPA 1861 & assault and false imprisonment contrary to common law – guidance on the sentencing approach to violent offences when particularly in a domestic violence where strangulation (‘ a substantial aggravating factor’) is a feature.
Sentencing for multiple terrorist offences, including murder and attempted murder – guilty pleas – offender assisting police pursuant to ss. 73-75 SOCPA 2005 – whether discount appropriate – guidance given on the approach to be taken to ‘the SOCPA discount’.
Sexual Assaults contrary to Art 6 Sexual Offences (NI) Order 2008 – whether ECOs a suitable disposal.
First instance sentencing remarks - one of fourteen cases heard together - interim guidance under LCJ’s ‘Programme for Action on Sentencing’ - the approach to sentencing in so-called ‘money mule’ fraud cases.
appeal against sentence - supply of a Class A and Class B drugs (cocaine) contrary to section 4(3)(b) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 - substantial criminal record of 61 previous convictions, three relate to possession of drugs (cannabis) - delay - approach adopted and weight accorded by the sentencing judge to the factor of the appellant’s rehabilitation were erroneous in law - appeal allowed