Practice and Procedure

ATTONEY-GENERAL'S REFERENCE (NO.10 OF 2002) sub nom R v S (2003)

PUBLISHED January 27, 2003

The length of a custodial sentence imposed on an offender was unduly lenient given the gravity of the offences that he had committed.Application by the Attorney-General under s.36 Criminal Justice Act 1988 for leave to refer an offender's sentence as being unduly lenient. The offender ('S') pleaded guilty to and was given a six- year custodial sentence for rape, wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and aggravated vehicle taking. On the 17th of March 2002 ('S') raped and assaulted D. He was granted bail on the condition that he would not contact D. One week later S told a work colleague that he would 'do' D. The next day he assaulted D with a kitchen knife leaving her unconscious. N, a lorry driver, witnessed the attack and tried to call the police but ST lunged at him with a knife, injured him and knocked him to the ground.Held: The sentence imposed was unduly lenient as it did not: (i) reflect the gravity of the offences S had committed; (ii) give sufficient deterrent to S and others;. Furthermore the offence was aggravated by the following factors: (a) breach of S's bail conditions; (b the degree of violence used; (c) the intent to kill ; (d) S's repeatedly hitting D after he had stabbed her. A ten-year sentence should have been imposed in this case. Taking account of double jeopardy it was reduced to eight years.Order accordingly.

[2003] EWCA Crim 4