Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED October 9, 2003

In all the circumstances, particularly the level of violence, a total sentence of seven and a half years in a young offender institution for wounding with intent and inflicting grievous bodily harm was not manifestly excessive and could not be certified as a longer than commensurate sentence.Appeal with leave of the single judge against a total sentence of seven and a half years in a young offender institution for wounding with intent and inflicting grievous bodily harm, imposed on 3 April 2003 at Bournemouth Crown Court. On 20 January 2003 the defendant ('F') changed his plea to guilty in relation to the wounding offence and pleaded guilty to the separate offence of inflicting grievous bodily harm. The sentences were ordered to run consecutively. On 9 August 2002 the 19-year-old victim to the wounding offence ('V1') was walking home after a night out. He stopped to stroke a dog and was attacked by F and another, rendering him unconscious. He suffered a broken hand, deep lacerations, swelling and bruising. F was arrested the following day. In interview he said he had head-butted V1 as he had scared his dog and whilst he was unconscious he attacked him. The written basis of F's plea was that he had punched and head-butted V1 but had not used a weapon. The grievous bodily harm offence was committed whilst F was on bail for the other offence. He went to the flat of the second victim ('V2') and attacked him using a one metre-long iron bar. During the attack, V2 said his skull was fractured but F only increased the severity of the attack. V2 had 47 stitches, a broken arm, broken nose and fractured jaw, and required plastic surgery. He was so concerned for his safety that he subsequently moved from the area, where he had lived for many years. The basis of F's plea for that offence was that V2 had committed a burglary, F had received the blame and had gone to the flat to get V2 to own up. F appealed against his sentence on the ground that whilst the two sentences were individually merited the totality was very long for a young person. F had done a lot to address his shortcomings and was on the waiting list to go into the drug-free wing. He had had a troubled background and conceded he had a problem controlling his anger.HELD: (1) These were two very worrying offences involving a high level of violence. F had continued to attack the victims when they had been beaten senseless. V1 had done nothing and V2 had been attacked in his own home. F did not suffer from any mental illness, just problems controlling his anger. He was a habitual user of drugs and alcohol. (2) The sentences were commensurate and were commensurate when ordered to run consecutively. These were shocking violent offences and the total sentence was commensurate with them. There was absolutely no need for the court to certify the sentence as a longer than commensurate one.Appeal dismissed.