Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED April 30, 2003

A custodial sentence of nine years and an extended period of five years for the rape of a 14 year old girl was too long. A sentence of eight years was appropriate with an extended period of two years.Appeal against sentence with leave of the single judge. On 13 September 2001 at Maidstone Crown Court the defendant, ('C') was convicted of rape. On 20 December 2001 an extended sentence of 14 years was imposed made up of a nine year custodial sentence and an extended period of five years under s.85 Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000. On 17 March 2001 the 14 year old victim ('V') went to the station to meet her father. C was at the station and V spoke to him as she knew him. C persuaded V to follow him, he distracted her and pulled down her trousers, forced her to the floor and had unprotected sex with her. When C had finished V was very upset and went to the toilets where she was seen by station staff who called the police. At trial it was accepted that V had something of a crush on C and had jokingly said something to him about "fancying a snog". C had two previous convictions, one in 1999 for an indecent assault on a female over 16 years old. Although he had pleaded guilty to that offence, when he gave evidence in the present case he denied having been guilty. C appealed sentence on the ground that it was manifestly excessive as the starting point in similar cases of rape was five years and there had been no serious aggravating factors which justified an increase.HELD: (1) The court was referred to various authorities but the only relevant authority was R v Millbery & Ors (2003) 1 WLR 546. It was clear from that case that the starting point in cases involving the rape of a child was eight years and not five years. A material consideration was the age of the child and the court was not tied to the starting point, it could be made higher or lower. (2) There were matters which justified the judge going over the starting point of eight years for example C's previous conviction. However, the custodial sentence was too long and the nine years would be quashed with eight years substituted. (3) The extended period of five years was also too long. It was important to remember the consequences of such a long extended period, C was of a young age and could be recalled at any time during the 14 year period. Such an extension was not justified and the five years would be quashed with two years substituted.Appeal allowed.