Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED August 19, 2003

Although in attempting to rob an elderly victim the appellant had caused needless suffering, a sentence of four years' imprisonment was manifestly excessive and was quashed and substituted with a term of three-and-a-half-years.Appeal against sentence with leave of the single judge. On 17 January 2003 at York Crown Court the appellant ('T') pleaded guilty to attempted robbery, and was sentenced on 10 February 2003 by HH Judge Hoffman to four years' imprisonment. The victim ('V') had been walking to a hotel. T approached V on a bike and grabbed the strap of her handbag. The force T had used made V fall to the ground. V managed to keep hold of the bag, and T, unbalanced on his bike, rode away. V, who suffered from arthritis, experienced pain when she fell and suffered cuts to her knees and swollen fingers. T, who had 26 previous convictions mainly for offences of dishonesty and two for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, had no previous convictions for robbery. The pre-sentence report indicated that the offence and T's history of offending were motivated by his drug addiction. T argued that the sentence was manifestly excessive with regard to his early plea, his genuine remorse, his lack of previous convictions for robbery, the spur of the moment nature of the offence and T's failure to gain from it.HELD: The judge's starting point was too high. With regard to the fact that a reduction in the sentence to one below the four-year threshold would lead to a greater reduction in the time to be served, the sentence was quashed and substituted with a terms of three-and-a-half-years' imprisonment.Appeal allowed.