Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED May 8, 2003

On an appeal against sentence for nine offences committed for trial at the Crown Court the total sentence remained the same, although adjustments were made to the sentences for individual offences to comply with requirements under the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 and the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980.Application for leave to appeal against sentence. On 19 July 2002 at the Crown Court in Liverpool, the applicant ('W') was sentenced to a total of 30 months' imprisonment for nine offences. Those offences included five 'either way' offences, namely two counts of theft and one of handling, possession of a prohibited weapon and possession of a bladed article. Of these, all but the offence of possession of a bladed article were stated to have been committed to the Crown Court under s.4 Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 ('the 2000 Act'). The 'either way' offence of possessing a bladed article, two summary absconding offences and two summary common assault offences were recorded as having been committed to the Crown Court under s.6 of the 2000 Act.HELD: (1) The magistrates may have intended to refer to s.6 Bail Act 1976 instead of s.6 of the 2000 Act in relation to the two absconding offences. However, it would be artificial to treat the reference to s.6 of the 2000 Act as 'misrecorded'. There was no doubt that the magistrates had the power to commit under s.6 of the 2000 Act and they said that this was what they were doing. (2) As the magistrates lacked jurisdiction to commit W for the four 'either way' offences under s.4 of the 2000 Act, the reference to s.4 should be treated as a 'misrecording'. It was reasonable to treat those committals as having taken place under s.3 of the 2000 Act. They were accordingly valid, as were the sentences imposed by the Crown Court in relation to those offences. (3) The nine month sentence for the offence of possessing a bladed article was unlawful since it exceeded the six month limit under s.78 of the 2000 Act. Accordingly, the sentence was substituted with a sentence of six months. (4) The consequent aggregate sentence of 15 months for the offences committed under s.6 of the 2000 Act was contrary to s.133(2) Magistrates' Court Act 1980. It followed that the sentences for the offences committed under s.6 of the 2000 Act had to be made concurrent, with the sentences for the common assault and absconding offences running concurrently with the newly substituted sentence for the offence of possessing a bladed article. (5) The new total sentence of 18 months did not adequately reflect the criminality of W's conduct. Accordingly, a sentence of 12 months was substituted for the sentence of six months for the first theft offence. In addition, the three month sentence for the handling offence was to run consecutively not concurrently and the six month consecutive sentence for the second theft offence was increased to nine months. The total sentence therefore remained 30 months' imprisonment and the appeal only succeeded to the extent described.Leave to appeal granted. Appeal allowed in part.

[2003] EWCA Crim 1271