Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED July 10, 2003

A sentence of four and half years for robbery would be quashed and a sentence of three years nine months substituted, as, despite the fact further offences were committed whilst the first defendant was on bail, a sentence that fell within the short sentence band was appropriate. A sentence of two years was appropriate for the second defendant even though he was of low intelligence.Appeal, with leave of the single judge, against sentences following convictions for robbery at the Central Criminal Court before Recorder Ahern QC on 11 February 2003. The defendants ('S' and 'K') were sentenced on 11 April 2003, K to two years' detention in a Young Offender's Institution. Whilst on bail S committed two further offences of robbery and was sentenced to four and a half years for the original robbery with no separate penalty imposed for the further two offences. On 19 June 2002 at 10.15pm two men, the victims, were travelling on the underground. S and K entered the carriage with two others, S and K stood near the door of the train and when the train slowed one of the others approached a victim and demanded his phone. When he refused S punched him in the face and all four ran off the train when it stopped. The victims gave chase and when they caught up punched S in the face. K picked up a piece of metal and a brick but the police arrived and arrested the group. In interview S and K said they knew nothing of the robbery and both were granted bail. In August 2002 S and another, ('P'), accosted a man and women out walking. S struck the women and took her phone. Later the same day S restrained a 16 year old boy whilst P took his phone, S and P then punched him. On 10 October 2002 S and P were arrested. S gave a no comment interview and was identified by the victims. S appealed sentence on the ground that the Sentencing Advisory Panel ('SAP') gave guidelines for offences of robbery and S fell within the first level which, provided for a starting point of a community sentence for a young offender. K appealed sentence on the ground that whilst the sentence could not be criticised if imposed on a normal defendant in normal circumstances, K was of low intelligence with a low IQ putting him in the lower 3-5 per cent. He further had suffered attention deficit disorder as a child and had no literacy skills. Whilst serving his sentence K had suffered because he had been moved from establishment to establishment.HELD: (1) Insofar as S was concerned he did not fall within the first level as set out by the SAP. There was a serious aggravating feature of the robbery in that it was committed as part of a team of four. Their presence intimidated those lawfully using public transport. A custodial sentence was the only option. (2) S committed two further offences whilst on bail and consecutive sentences, if passed, for those offences could never have been criticised. However, because the first offence of robbery brought S's first ever conviction it was appropriate and possible for the judge to have kept within a short sentence band. The sentence of four and a half years would be quashed with three years nine months substituted on each count to run concurrently. (3) Insofar as K was concerned the offence was a serious offence prevalent in the city. The judge was entirely right to pass a custodial sentence. K had been in a Young Offender's Institution since 8 May 2003 and the court had before it a favourable report. The report reveals that progress was being made and there was the possibility that other assistance, both educational and psychological, might be available.Decision accordingly.