Practice and Procedure

R v (On the application of C) BRIGHTON YOUTH COURT (2003)

PUBLISHED May 1, 2003

Brighton Youth Court had been incorrect to designate the charge of burglary against the claimant as a "grave crime", so it should not have committed him for trial.Application for judicial review of the decision of Brighton Youth Court ('the youth court') on 16 August 2002 to designate a burglary charge against the claimant ('C') as a "grave crime", to refuse jurisdiction and to commit him for trial. C was 15 years old and intellectually disabled, and attended a special facilities school. He had been charged with criminal damage and a specific allegation of burglary in relation to a stereo music player and a pair of training shoes. On the present application C argued that: (i) by virtue of s.24(1)(a) Magistrates Courts Act 1980, s.91(1) Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 and R v Southampton Youth Court, ex parte W : R v Wirral Borough Magistrates Court, ex parte K (2002) Crim LR 750, the youth court could only commit C on the basis that his offence was a grave crime if there was more than a vague or theoretical possibility that a sentence of two years or more would be passed by the Crown Court; (ii) on the facts, and given current sentencing guidelines, no such sentence would be passed; and (iii) the decision to commit C was one that no reasonable tribunal should have made.HELD: (1) C's argument as to the law was correct. (2) Given C's age and the absence of a criminal record it was highly improbable that a sentence of two years' detention or more would be passed. (3) Accordingly, the youth court should not have refused jurisdiction.Application allowed.