T, R v, Court of Appeal - Criminal Division, November 07, 2018, [2018] EWCA Crim 2464

Resolution Date:November 07, 2018
Issuing Organization:Criminal Division
Actores:T, R v
 
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Neutral Citation Number: [2018] EWCA Crim 2464

Case No: 2018/04228 A2

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL (CRIMINAL DIVISION)

ON APPEAL FROM CROWN COURT AT SHEFFIELD

His Honour Judge Richardson

T20187120

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Date: 07/11/2018

Before:

THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE LORD BURNETT OF MALDON

LORD CHIEF JUSTICE OF ENGLAND AND WALES

THE HONOURABLE MR JUSTICE PHILLIPS

and

THE HONOURABLE MRS JUSTICE CUTTS

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Between:

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Mr Schofield (instructed by Crown Prosecution Service) for the Appellant

Mr Stables (instructed by The Johnson Partnership) for the Respondent

Hearing dates: 16 October 2018

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The Lord Burnett of Maldon CJ:

  1. On 18 July 2018 at the Crown Court at Sheffield the offender was convicted of wounding with intent contrary to section 18 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 following a trial before the Recorder of Sheffield and a jury. He had earlier pleaded guilty to having a bladed article in a public place contrary to section 139 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988. The offending arose out of events which occurred during the evening of 18 March 2018. The offender was born on 21 November 2002. He was 15 years and four months at the time of the offending. He was acquitted of attempted murder.

  2. On 10 August 2018 the judge sentenced the offender to five years' detention pursuant to section 91 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 for wounding with intent, with no separate penalty for the bladed article offence. The judge set out his reasoning underpinning the sentence in a detailed written judgment which he gave a week later.

  3. The matter came before us on an application by Her Majesty's Solicitor General pursuant to section 36 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 to make a reference to the Court of Appeal. At the same time, we heard an application for leave to appeal against sentence and for an extension of time.

  4. At the close of oral argument, we announced our decision:

    i) We granted the necessary extension of time but refused leave to appeal against sentence.

    ii) We granted permission to the Solicitor General to make a reference to the Court of Appeal.

    iii) We quashed the sentence of five years detention imposed for wounding with intent, and substituted an extended sentence of eight years, pursuant to section 226B of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (``the 2003 Act''), comprising a custodial element of five years and an extension period of three years.

  5. There were various ancillary orders made by the judge which were undisturbed.

  6. These are our reasons for reaching those conclusions.

    Arguments in Outline

  7. In support of the application for leave to appeal against sentence, it was submitted that the judge located the offending in the wrong part of the material definitive guideline. As a result, his starting point for an adult offender at 14 years' custody, before reducing the sentence for the applicant's youth and to reflect mitigation, was too high. It was submitted that the consequence of that error was to arrive at a custodial period for this child that was manifestly excessive. On behalf of the Solicitor General, it was accepted that the custodial term arrived at by the judge was an appropriate one. Mr Schofield submitted that the nature of the offending itself, coupled with what is known about the offender's behaviour in the years before the night in question and his behaviour since, left no alternative but to conclude that he was dangerous for the purposes of the dangerousness' provisions found in the 2003 Act. As is apparent from the decision we made, we accepted that submission and concluded that an extended sentence was necessary to provide protection to the public.

    The Facts

  8. On the 17 March 2018, Danika Gothard, who was 24 and from Sheffield, had been out socialising with friends. She returned to Sheffield by train and walked home. That took about an hour. She had been expecting her partner to meet her and when she got home they had an argument about that. Just after midnight she left home with a view to staying at her mother's house. The offender was nearby walking his dog. He was carrying a knife which he later explained was for his protection. The victim walked to her car and as she did so she felt a hand on her shoulder and then a knife pointing at her neck. The offender said ``I wanna see what you got'' and then with his hand on her shoulder and a knife to her throat guided her away from the car in the direction of a nearby road. She thought she was about to be robbed. She offered her purse and car keys to the offender and told him to take whatever he wanted. He did not respond.

  9. The victim believed that she might be sexually assaulted. That potential motivation was not established at the trial. The judge accepted that the motive was robbery. The victim walked a short distance with the offender and then, in an attempt to escape, punched him in the face. He retaliated by punching her nose and then stabbed her under her left arm. She made a desperate attempt to run away, screaming, over a distance of at least 100 metres. The offender chased her, caught up with her and stabbed her a second time. She fell to the ground. He then took her by the shoulders, tried to get her onto her feet and stabbed her a further four times to the upper body and abdomen.

  10. Her partner arrived at the scene, having heard the commotion, and asked the offender ``what have you done to her?'' The...

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