West Law Report

Adding to a life sentence

Posted in Times Law Report by mrkooenglish on August 8, 2008

From The TimesAugust 7, 2008

Adding to a life sentence
Court of Appeal, Criminal Division
Published August 7, 2008
Regina v Hills
Regina v Pomfret
Regina v Davies
Before Lord Justice Latham, Mr Justice Grigson and Mr Justice Macduff
Judgment July 17, 2008

A consecutive prison sentence could be added to a life sentence where the circumstances warranted it.

The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division so held when: (i) dismissing appeals by Christopher Hills, against his three-year sentence consecutive to his indeterminate sentence imposed on July 31, 2007, at Teesside Crown Court by Judge Spittle for attempting to escape from lawful custody, and (ii) Marvin Pomfret, against his sentence of imprisonment for public protection with a minimum of six years imposed on February 29, 2008, at Birmingham Crown Court by Mr Recorder Elsom for wounding with intent, and (iii) allowing an appeal by Stephen Davies, against his sentence of life imprisonment by reducing by 18 months the recommended minimum term of nine years imposed on April 3, 2008, at Cardiff Crown Court by Judge Bidder, QC, for buggery, rape, indecent assault and indecency with a child.

Mr Mark Giuliani for Hills; Mr Crispin Aylett, QC, for the Crown. Ms Nerida Harford-Bell for Pomfret; Mr Paul Mytton for the Crown. Mr Ieuan Rees for Davies; Mr John Probert for the Crown.

LORD JUSTICE LATHAM, giving the judgment of the court, said that this case resolved the issue which arose where an offender sentenced to life fell to be sentenced while still serving the minimum term but where the sentence, if imposed concurrently, could not add to the period before which the defendant was considered for parole and the interests of justice required a consecutive sentence.

Under section 154 of the Powers of Criminal Court Sentencing Act 2000, a sentence normally took effect at the beginning of the day it was imposed.

The sentencing regime created by the Criminal Justice Act 2003 provided for clear dates on which minimum terms came to an end, so the court could determine when the offender might be considered for release on parole.

It would be unfortunate, where the interests of justice required it, if the court was not able to impose a sentence on an offender who was eligible for parole when, subject to consideration by the Parole Board, he would not have any punishment for what could be a serious offence committed while in prison.

There was no practical reason why an order should not be made requiring the offender to serve an additional period, other than the minimum period, before being considered for parole, where there had been a planned, deliberate and serious act of violence in circumstances which fully justified a significant sentence of imprisonment.

Problems relating to sentencing of those serving indeterminate sentences had been considered by the Court of Appeal in R v O’Br-ien (Practice Note) ([2008] 1 WLR 833) when the court considered the way in which the sentence should be constructed when indeterminate, extended and deterrent sentences had to be mixed.

Solicitors: Richmond Anderson Goudie, Chester-le-Street, Crown Prosecution Service, Cleveland. Bindman & Partners; Crown Prosecution Service, Droitwich. Gartsides, Newport, Crown Prosecution Service, South Wales.

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