Practice and Procedure

ATTORNEY-GENERAL'S REFERENCE (No 25 of 2003) sub nom R v M (2003)

PUBLISHED October 3, 2003

In all the circumstances of the case a total sentence of five years imprisonment was unduly lenient for six counts of rape, taking into account double jeopardy a total sentence of 10 years would be substituted.Application by the Attorney-General to refer, under s.36 Criminal Justice Act 1988, a total sentence of five years' imprisonment following conviction on six counts of rape. The defendant ('M') was sentenced by HH Judge Hucker at Kingston Crown Court on 7 March 2003. The victim, ('V') married M's brother through an arranged marriage and came to the UK where she lived in the family home. Between June 2000 and August 2002 V was raped repeatedly, the offences usually occurring on a Friday when the rest of the household were at the Mosque, and sometimes in front of her two year old daughter. V was forced to have oral sex and raped anally. V's isolation and fear of M prevented her complaining. M would often shout at V and hit her, if other members of the family intervened they were also hit and threatened. V eventually told a healthworker what had been happening and the local authority housed her and her husband. M threatened to kill himself and they felt obliged to return home. M's father eventually ordered him out of the home, M left but took V and her husband with him. Following another rape in front of her daughter V sought help at the housing department. M was arrested and admitted having sex with V on at least 40-50 occasions but said that she had consented. The Attorney-General referred the sentence as unduly lenient given the aggravating factors: (i) it was a campaign of rape; (ii) V was dominated by M and the impact of his conduct lead to V attempting suicide; (iii) V was short and very slightly built; (iv) the offences were planned in that they normally only occurred on a Friday; (v) V was forced to have oral sex and the offences often took place in front of her daughter. In mitigation were M's previous good character and the fact he was suffering from a depressive illness. V had written to the court through her solicitors stating that she did not support the application to refer the sentence. However, following R v Roach 1999 2 Cr App R S 105, the Attorney-General contended the court should not take into account the letter.HELD: (1) There were at least three of the aggravating features identified in R v Milberry [2002] EWCA Crim 2891 present. It could be accepted that there was a campaign against the same victim. Even taking into account M's previous good character and his illness a sentence of between 12 and 13 years could have been expected in the court below and five years was plainly unduly lenient. Taking into account double jeopardy sentences of 10 years would be substituted on each count to run concurrently.Leave to refer granted application allowed

[2003] EWCA Crim 2736