Clarke & Ors, R v, Court of Appeal - Criminal Division, January 24, 2018, [2018] EWCA Crim 185

Resolution Date:January 24, 2018
Issuing Organization:Criminal Division
Actores:Clarke & Ors, R v
 
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No. 2017/05107/A1, 2017/05149/A1, 2017/05110/A1 & 2017/05108/A1

Neutral Citation Number: [2018] EWCA Crim 185

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL

CRIMINAL DIVISION

Royal Courts of Justice

The Strand

London WC2

Wednesday 24th January 2018

B e f o r e:

THE LORD CHIEF JUSTICE OF ENGLAND AND WALES

(The Lord Burnett of Maldon)

MR JUSTICE WARBY

and

MR JUSTICE DOVE

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ATTORNEY GENERAL'S REFERENCES

UNDER SECTION 36 OF

THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1988

R E G I N A

- v -

MORGAN CLARKE

DECLAN ANDREWS

ANTON CRAIG THOMPSON

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Mr P Jarvis appeared on behalf of the Attorney General

Mr M Brady appeared on behalf of the Offender Morgan Clarke

Miss S Duckworth appeared on behalf of the Offender Declan Andrews

Mr D James appeared on behalf of the Offender Anton Craig Thompson

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J U D G M E N TWednesday 24th January 2018

THE LORD CHIEF JUSTICE:

  1. On 23rd October 2017, in the Crown Court at Manchester, the offenders, Clarke, Thompson and Andrews, were sentenced by Her Honour Judge Goddard QC for a range of serious offences, including kidnapping.

  2. This is an application by Her Majesty's Attorney General, pursuant to section 36 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988, for leave to refer their sentences as unduly lenient. There is an also an application for leave to appeal against sentence made by Andrews on the basis that the sentence imposed was manifestly excessive.

  3. Before turning to the detail of the offending, it is important to note the ages of the offenders. The offending occurred in early 2017. Clarke was born on 11th December 1998 and so was just 18 at the time of the offending. Thompson was born on 26th August 1997 and so was 19. Andrews was born on 3rd December 1999 and so was 17.

  4. In paragraph 40 of the Final Reference the submission was advanced that only Andrews should have received a discount by virtue of his youth. He was the only one under the age of 18 at the time of the offending. In support of his application for leave to appeal against sentence, Andrews made a similar point. Miss Duckworth refers to the Sentencing Council guideline for the sentencing of children and young people. The guideline undoubtedly applied to Andrews. She submits that his sentence should have been reduced by half or more, pursuant to the principle articulated in paragraph 6.4(6) of that guideline, as compared with the other offenders. In the course of his oral submissions Mr Jarvis, on behalf of the Attorney General, accepted that there was no stark cut-off point that applies in sentencing an offender aged 18. Miss Duckworth accepted the same proposition.

  5. Reaching the age of 18 has many legal consequences, but it does not present a cliff edge for the purposes of sentencing. So much has long been clear. The discussion in R v Peters [2005] EWCA Crim 605, [2005] 2 Cr App R(S) 101 is an example of its application: See paras [10]-[12]. Full maturity and all the attributes of adulthood are not magically conferred on young people on their 18th birthdays. Experience of life reflected in scientific research (e.g. The Age of Adolescence: thelancet.com/child-adolescent; 17 January 2018) is that young people continue to mature, albeit at different rates, for some time beyond their 18th birthdays. The youth and maturity of an offender will be factors that inform any sentencing decision, even if an offender has passed his or her 18th birthday. The ages of these offenders illustrate the point. The youth and immaturity of Clarke and Thompson were appropriate factors for the judge to take into account in these cases event though both were over 18 when they offended. It is apparent that the Judge did so, not only in the case of Andrews.

  6. The offenders fell to be sentenced for the following offences:

    All three offenders:

    (a) Kidnap, the particulars of which were that between 20th January 2017 and 23rd January 2017 all three offenders unlawfully and by force or fraud took or carried away Carl Cain against his will.

    (b) Blackmail, contrary to section 21(1) of the Theft Act 1968, the particulars of which were that between the same dates all three offenders, with a view to gain for themselves or another, made an unwarranted demand of monies from Connor Cain with menaces.

    Clarke alone:

    (c) Attempted robbery, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981, the particulars of which were that on 19th May 2017 Clarke attempted to rob Ashley Bird.

    (d) Having an offensive weapon, contrary to section 1(1) of the Prevention of Crime Act 1954, the particulars of which were that on 19th May 2017, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, Clarke had with him in a public place an offensive weapon, namely a hammer.

    Thompson and Andrews together:

    (e) Doing an act tending and intended to pervert of public justice, the particulars of which were that on 4th March 2017 they entered the home address of the Cain family and made a series of threats towards the family which had a tendency to pervert the course of public justice in that they intended the Cain family to retract their allegations.

    (f) Theft, contrary to section 1(1) of the Theft Act 1968, the particulars of which were that on 4th March 2017 Thompson and Andrews stole a Transition Mountain Bicycle and a Cube Mountain Bicycle belonging to Connor Cain.

    Thompson alone:

    (g) Having an offensive weapon, contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953, the particulars of which were that on 4th March 2017, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, he had with him in a public place offensive weapons, namely a hammer and a machete.

    (h) A number of summary only driving matters and handling stolen goods were committed for sentence.

    Andrews alone:

    (i) Having an offensive weapon, contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953, the particulars of...

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