Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED September 17, 2003

The court allowed the defendant's application for leave to appeal against sentence and indicated that it would have substituted a term of six years' imprisonment for both counts of burglary due to the unusual circumstances of the case.Renewed application by the defendant ('M') for leave to appeal against a sentence of seven years' imprisonment for two counts of burglary. A total of 587 other offences were also taken into consideration. In July 2001, M and two others tricked their way into a home by pretending to be from the water board and stole money. M was arrested and remanded in custody. While in custody, M made three substantial attempts at self-harm, as a result of which he was transferred to a medium secure unit from which four weeks thereafter he absconded. As an absconder, M and another man tricked their way into the home of an elderly deaf woman and stole her pension money. M was arrested on 15 May 2002 and admitted both burglaries and volunteered that he had been responsible for many others. Since absconding from hospital he had committed a further 90 offences. M not only volunteered that he had committed a large number of other offences, he then took considerable trouble with the police from across the south of England who were involved in the investigation of unsolved crime. In passing sentence the judge observed that artifice burglaries were extremely serious and took the view that the proper starting point for M was one of nine years' imprisonment. Having regard to his guilty plea, the circumstance in which the offences were taken into consideration and other matters, M was sentenced to a term of seven years' imprisonment.HELD: (1) On the face of it, commission of crime at the level at which M had committed crime necessarily required severe deterrent sentences. (2) Notwithstanding the seriousness of the offence, the court was obliged to approach each case on its own facts. (3) The court was required to take details of M's background, his psychiatric history and other matters into account. (4) If the court had been hearing the actual appeal, it would have reduced M's sentence to a sentence of six years' imprisonment.Application granted.

[2003] EWCA Crim 2493