Larkin, R v, Court of Appeal - Criminal Division, September 21, 2018, [2018] EWCA Crim 2165

Resolution Date:September 21, 2018
Issuing Organization:Criminal Division
Actores:Larkin, R v
 
FREE EXCERPT

SMITH BERNAL WORDWAVE

Neutral Citation Number: [2018] EWCA Crim 2165

Case No: 201704240/B2

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL

CRIMINAL DIVISION

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand

London, WC2A 2LL

Date: Friday, 21 September 2018

B e f o r e:

LORD JUSTICE DAVIS

MRS JUSTICE SIMLER DBE

MR JUSTICE DOVE

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R E G I N A

v

JAMES LARKIN

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Computer Aided Transcript of the Stenograph Notes of

Epiq Europe Ltd 165 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2DY

Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Email: rcj@epiqglobal.co.uk

(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)

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Mr A Waterman QC appeared on behalf of the Appellant

Mr D Enoch QC appeared on behalf of the Crown

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J U D G M E N T (As Approved by the Court)

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LORD JUSTICE DAVIS:

Introduction

  1. This appeal against sentence arises in the result of the appellant's conviction on a count of manslaughter. His conviction followed a trial at the Crown Court at Sheffield before Andrews J and a jury, the verdict being delivered on 9 November 2016. A few days later he was sentenced by the trial judge to a term of 12 years' imprisonment on the count of manslaughter. In addition, he was also facing a count of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in respect of which he was also convicted; and a one year concurrent sentence was imposed on that.

  2. There was a co-accused, a woman called Laura Marie Ostle, who was convicted of the count of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. She was sentenced to a term of 18 months' imprisonment. The appeal against sentence on the part of this appellant is brought by leave of the single judge.

    Background facts

  3. The background facts, relatively shortly stated, is this. Christopher Larkin was born on 30 June 2014. His mother was the co-accused, Laura Marie Ostle, who was 19 years old at the time. The birth was by way of Caesarean section under general anaesthetic. The appellant was named as the father on the birth certificate. He had been in a relationship with the co-accused since 2012. However, that relationship had at least temporarily come to an end and there was a possibility that the appellant was not himself the father of Christopher.

  4. The appellant and the co-accused also had another child, who may be called R, then aged two years. The appellant was also named on the birth certificate as the father of R. In fact, the co-accused had already been pregnant when the two started their relationship. The actuality was that the appellant regarded himself, and acted nobly, as the father of both children.

  5. The co-accused herself had been adopted as a baby and her adoptive parents and their subsequent partners had been closely involved with helping look after both R and Christopher.

  6. On 16 September 2014 at 7.22 in the morning, the ambulance service was called to the address where the appellant and the co-accused lived. This was consequent upon a report of a baby who had stopped breathing. Upon arrival the ambulance crew found that Christopher was in cardiac arrest. He was resuscitated and taken to hospital. The co-accused travelled with Christopher whilst the appellant stayed at home with R. Christopher was taken to the hospital's children's intensive care unit. A scan revealed swelling and bleeding to the brain and retinal hemorrhaging. The injury was considered to be non-accidental and both parents were arrested. Tragically, Christopher was unable to survive the injuries he had suffered and he died at 1.18 am on 18 September 2014.

  7. A postmortem report subsequently conducted revealed that he had died of a head injury consistent with baby shaking or a sudden impact on a soft surface. A full pathology report had stated that there was no medical condition present which contributed to his death. Specialists in fact recorded two episodes of bleeding, the most recent being the cause of death. Thus there had been a brain bleed, as it was said, timed some one to three months before the final incident. The historic retinal hemorrhaging was, however, unlikely to be the causation of the historic bleeding due to Christopher having been born by Caesarean section.

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