West Law Report

Imposing sentences for public protection

Posted in Times Law Report by mrkooenglish on December 9, 2008

From The Times
December 9, 2008
Imposing sentences for public protection

Court of Appeal, Criminal Division
Published December 9, 2008
Regina v Stannard
Regina v A
Regina v Clarkson
Before Lord Judge, Lord Chief Justice, Mr Judge Owen and Mr Judge Christopher Clarke
Judgment November 26, 2008

Where a defendant was before the court to be sentenced for offences committed both before and after April 4, 2005, when the dangerous offender provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 came into force, distinct statutory provisions applied but that did not mean that if the offences committed before April 4, 2005 were more serious than those committed after that date a sentence of imprisonment for public protection could not be imposed.

The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, so held when: (i) refusing applications for leave to appeal against sentence by: (a) Raymond Stannard against an extended sentence of 13 years, comprising nine years of imprisonment and an extended licence period of four years imposed by Judge Bing, on June 18, 2007, at Snaresbrook Crown Court on his plea of guilty to rape, indecent assault and sexual assault; (b) A against a total prison sentence of 17 years imposed by Judge Heath, on August 9, 2007, at Lincoln Crown Court on his plea of guilty to numerous sexual offences against children, particularly his niece and nephew, and (ii) allowing an appeal by Terence Clarkson against a sentence of imprisonment for public protection with a minimum term of two and a half years imposed by Judge O’Mahoney on September 12, 2007, at Canterbury Crown Court on his conviction of numerous sexual offences against children.

Mr Oliver Weetch, assigned by the Registrar of Criminal Appeals, for Stannard; Mr Christopher Amor for the Crown. Mr Stephen Clayton, assigned by the Registrar, for A; Mr Philip Howes for the Crown. Miss Catherine Donnelly, assigned by the Registrar, for Clarkson; Miss Eloise Marshall for the Crown.

THE LORD CHIEF JUSTICE, giving the judgment of the court, said that if serious offences within the meaning of the dangerous offender provisions in the 2003 Act were committed by a person aged 18 or over and, on the basis of all the information before it, which undoubtedly included the evidence relating to any offences committed before the 2003 Act came into force, the court was satisfied of the significant risk described in section 225(1)(b) but a sentence of life imprisonment was not appropriate, in any sentencing decision made before July 14, 2008, when the 2003 Act was amended, the sentence of imprisonment for public protection had to be imposed.

That was a mandatory requirement which could not be avoided merely because the pre-April 4, 2005 offending was even more grave than the serious offences or offences committed after that date.

To the extent that the observations of Lord Justice Rose in paragraph 3 of R v Lang (The Times November 10, 2005; [2006] 1 WLR 2509) had been thought to provide the basis for not applying the provisions of the 2003 Act where the conduct before April 4, 2005 was of greater gravity than that after that date, they had been misread.

Solicitors: Crown Prosecution Service, Snaresbrook; Crown Prosecution Service, Lincoln; Crown Prosecution Service, Canterbury.

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