West Law Report

IN THE MATTER OF LEON NIGEL KENTON

Posted in Criminal Justice Act, Murder, sentence, Westlaw Reports by mrkooenglish on May 2, 2008

Last Updated: 1:26AM BST 07/06/2007
Queen’s Bench Division
Rafferty J
May 23, 2007

May 17, 2007 Minimum term – Murder – Setting appropriate minimum term – Criminal Justice Act 2003

FACTS

The court was required to determine the minimum term to be served by the offender (K) who had been sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. The victim (V), who had been aged 17, had been shot in his neck whilst sat in a parked car and had had a gold chain stolen by two assailants on bicycles. K was subsequently seen with bloodstained clothing in possession of V’s necklace. K denied the offence and stated that he had been at his sister’s house at the time. The trial judge concluded that K had been both the gunman and the individual who stole the necklace. The trial judge recommended a minimum term of 14 years, which was also recommended by the Lord Chief Justice and adopted by the secretary of state. K contended that there was no intention to kill, only to cause grievous bodily harm, and that the appropriate minimum term was therefore 13 years.

ISSUE

Determination of the minimum term to be served by K who had been sentenced to life imprisonment for murder.

HELD (judgment accordingly)

Under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 the starting point would have been 30 years. The contention that there was no intention to kill was not accepted and the progress made in prison was not so significant so as to reduce the period. There was no reason to disagree with the recommendation of the trial judge, the Lord Chief Justice and the secretary of state. The appropriate minimum term was 14 years’ imprisonment.

A Gee QC and A Lowcock (instructed by the Crown Prosecution Service) for the Crown. P Birkett QC and P Dockery (instructed by Michael Purdon, Newcastle-upon-Tyne) for the defendant.

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