Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED January 21, 2003

A sentence of three years in a young offender institution for offences of supplying a controlled class A drug was not excessive, the judge had correctly followed guidelines and the sentence could not be reduced further.Appeal against sentence with leave of the single judge. On 19 June 2002 at Swansea Crown Court before Recorder Rowlands the defendant ('C') pleaded guilty to being knowingly concerned with the supply of a controlled class A drug. C was subsequently sentenced to three years' detention in a young offender institution. C was a heroin addict who lived with her boyfriend who was also an addict. On 8 January 2001 police searched C's home and found drug paraphernalia associated with heroin addiction. The police also found two diaries that contained evidence that C and her boyfriend bought heroin and distributed it to others. The diaries contained evidence of at least 11 deals. When passing sentence the judge acknowledged that C was not dealing for profit and only supplied heroin to other addicts. He stated that had C been older the sentence would have been very long; however, the sentence could be dramatically reduced due to C's age, her guilty plea, her subsequent steps to address her lifestyle and her previous good character. C appealed on the ground that the sentence was excessive given the mitigating circumstances.HELD: (1) The sentencing judge had implicitly followed the guidelines set out in R v Djahit (1999) 2 Cr App(S) 142 and directed himself correctly. (2) Had there been a trial the starting point for the sentence would have been six years. That would have been reduced by one third because of C's age and previous good character. C's personal circumstances justified a further discount, which was reflected in the sentence being reduced to three years instead of four. (3) The present court had one further piece of material that could be taken into account: a prison report, which was entirely favourable to C and stated that she was seizing the opportunity in a structured environment to do something about her lifestyle. (4) The guidelines in R v Djahit (supra) stood. Even taking into account the prison report and all other material the court was unable to say that the sentence should have been reduced further.Appeal dismissed.

[2003] EWCA Crim 144