Practice and Procedure

R v KB (2003)

PUBLISHED June 17, 2003

A sentence of five years imposed under s.91 Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 on a defendant aged 15 years was not manifestly excessive, the judge had no alternative given the defendant's previous convictions and risk of continuing harm he posed to the public.Appeal with leave of the single judge, against a total sentence of five years' detention under s.91 Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000. On 13 March 2003 at Nottingham Crown Court before HH Judge Bennett, the defendant ('B') pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery, two counts of attempted robbery and three counts of possession of an imitation firearm at time of committing an offence. On 16 December 2002 B attacked a young couple walking along a street at gunpoint. B demanded money from the male victim but he had none and B pointed the gun towards the female victim who did not realise it was an imitation weapon, and her handbag containing keys, cash and mobile phone were stolen. On 18 December B pulled the gun out of his waistband and pointed it at a male victim who was walking home late at night. The gun was pointed at the side of his face and B asked if he had a mobile phone. When the victim said he had no phone B left. On 19 December at 9 pm B pointed the gun at a victim's face. He stood with his arms outstretched holding the gun with both hands and demanded the victim's phone and cash. The victim gave him his phone and ?60.00 in cash. The first offence was committed about two weeks before B's 15th birthday. He had a significant number of previous convictions, dating from when he was 12 years old, including arson and using threatening words and behaviour. At the time of the offences he was subject to a supervision order imposed on 18 November 2002. When sentencing the judge held that if an adult had committed the same offences he could have expected ten years plus. B was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder when he was five years old and took the drug ritalin. B appealed sentence on the ground that it was manifestly excessive given B's very young age.HELD: (1) The use of s.91 of the 2000 Act should be used sparingly for a defendant of this age and when used, have the result that a defendant could keep in sight the end of the sentence. (2) In the circumstances of this case there was no realistic alternative to the sentence imposed. The reports, including a prison report which said B had faced adjudication for bullying and racial abuse, indicated B remained a continuing risk unless he addressed his problems.Appeal dismissed