West Law Report

IN THE MATTER OF STUART GEOFFREY IVES

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 17, 2007

Mandatory life imprisonment – Minimum term – Murder – Robbery – Savage attack Defenceless victim – Danger to public – Criminal Justice Act 2003

FACTS

The court was required to determine the minimum term to be served by the offender (X) who had been sentenced to life imprisonment following his conviction for murder. Prior to the commencement of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, X and his sister had met the victim (V) and gone with him to a public house where V had bought them drinks. The bar staff told of V being harassed and of X saying that he knew V had some more money. That evening, X was seen dragging V towards an alley leading to a car park. In the car park X punched and kicked V’s head and repeatedly and forcibly stamped on his face and head. V died from ingesting blood from his facial injuries. When the police found V’s body, all his pockets had been rifled and no money was on or near to him. At that point X was in a nearby public house buying drinks. The trial judge found as aggravating features that it was a savage merciless sustained attack on a defenceless man on the ground, the motive was robbery and the savagery indicated that X might be a danger to the public if prematurely released. The judge considered mitigating factors to be X’s youth and his earlier unsettled life. The trial judge recommended a minimum term of 12 years and the Lord Chief Justice recommended 14 or 15 years. The secretary of state set a term of 15 years.

ISSUES

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Determination of the minimum term to be served by X who had been sentenced to life imprisonment following his conviction for murder.

HELD (judgment accordingly)

As the offence had been committed prior to the commencement of the Act, the appropriate starting point was to consider the practice of the Lord Chief Justice at that time which took 14 years as the period to be served for a “normal” murder. The starting point under the current regime was 15 years. The aggravating and mitigating features were those as set out by the trial judge whose conclusions were adopted. There was no reason to depart from his assessment and it was therefore appropriate to impose a minimum term of 12 years.

J D Hall QC and J I Hillis (instructed by the Crown Prosecution Service) for the Crown. K R Keen QC and R N Sheldon (instructed by Jack Danaher & Co, Barnsley) for the defendant.

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