Photo from IB Times

Is the CCRC giving Ched Evans preferential treatment?

Introduction

The case of Ched Evans has been in the news seemingly non-stop recently. It throws up many complicated and serious issues that has engendered a lot of public debate. See here for our coverage of his first appeal being refused and a couple of thoughts as to whether he should play for Sheffield United.

One issue that has caused confusion is whether he received any special treatment either in the sentence he got, or when he got released. The answer is ‘no’ – he was treated like any other member of the public.

Another point is that Mr Evans has not exactly shown much remorse. He is still disputing his conviction and a dossier has been assembled and passed to the CCRC, but what does that mean?

 

What is the CCRC?

We have a full fact sheet on what it is, why it exists, and how it works. Briefly, it is the body that anyone who has been convicted and had their appeal refused (as Mr Evans has), but still feels that they have been wrongly convicted can go for help.

The CCRC will investigate Mr Evans case and decided in due course whether to refer his case to the Court of Appeal. If they do, this does not mean that his conviction will be quashed, but it does give him another go at it in the Court of Appeal.

They will be looking at the new material that people working on Mr Evans behalf have collected and see whether that raises a ‘real possibility’ that the Court of Appeal will find the conviction to be unsafe.

 

Why is he getting fast-tracked though?

This is an issue that has caused a lot of angst in the media, for obvious reasons. Should someone’s celebrity mean that they get their case looked at faster? Obviously, the answer to that is no, but is he getting special treatment here?

The CCRC have a policy as to how they prioritise cases. Firstly they screen the case to see if there is any potential merit in it. Once that is satisfied, then there are three level of priorities. If the factor below is ‘discretionary’, then the CCRC may look at whether there has been undue delay by the applicant which may mean that the case is ‘downgraded’ in priority :

First

If any of the following apply :

(i)  The case has been referred by the Court of Appeal for investigation by the CCRC

(ii)  The applicant has applied for review of sentence only and has less than two years to serve (automatic)

(iii)  There are exceptional circumstances that justify a prioritised review (discretionary) – taking account of the following factors:

  • The old age and/or ill health of the applicant where there is concern that the applicant may die before the case is dealt with
  • Evidence that the applicant’s serious ill health (or that of any close family member of the applicant) is directly and significantly aggravated by the delay
  • The youth of the applicant where, having regard to the nature of the offence, the sentence imposed and the applicant’s personal circumstances, the conviction has an exceptionally adverse impact on their welfare and/or educational and career prospects. In the same way, the young age of the applicant at the date of conviction will also be a consideration
  • The risk of being unable to secure or obtain relevant evidence, or of relevant evidence deteriorating, for whatever reason
  • Operational effectiveness
  • The impact of delay on the criminal justice system.

Second

If either of the following apply:

(i) the applicant is in custody, or

(ii) he is out but “but individual factors demonstrate that the conviction has an exceptionally adverse impact on the convicted person or on another individual or individuals

 

Third

All other cases.

 

Where is Ched Evans on this scale?

On the face of it, now that he has been released, he would be Level 3. However, given that this may impact on his employment, it is legitimate to say that this puts it into Level 2. For that reason, Mr Evans is not getting special treatment, the CCRC are applying their policy to him.

 

Conclusion

One of the real ironies here, perhaps, is that the outcry over whether or not he should play football on his release has bumped his case up from Level 3 to Level 2, which means it will be dealt with quicker.

However, it is not right to say that what the CCRC are doing is fast-tracking his case, he is being treated now, as he always has been, like any other member of the public.

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Criminal Cases Review Commission

Introduction

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people are convicted (either by a jury, by magistrates, or by their own plea of guilty) of criminal offences. And that’s before you start looking at traffic offences … So, against that backdrop, here’s a question:

Surely not all of these people can actually be guilty, can they?

Much as we like to think that our system is perfect, it clearly isn’t. It’s human, and so inevitably, mistakes are made. For those found guilty in the Crown Court, there is the possibility of an appeal to the Court of Appeal (here’s our fact sheet on that process). For those (the vast majority) who are convicted in the Magistrates’ Court, it’s a somewhat easier process.

Again though, as we know, this isn’t guaranteed to pick up every time a case has gone wrong. We have all seen the high profile miscarriages of justice, but there are even more ‘mundane’ cases where, for whatever reason, someone is wrongly convicted.

 

What happens if the Court of Appeal says no?

Looking at the Crown Court, once an appeal has been heard, or an application for permission to appeal refused, that is the end of the process. You can’t appeal to the Court of Appeal more than once.

Previously, a convicted person could petition the Home Secretary to look at their case again and hope that he or she would refer the case to the Court of Appeal. It was fairly clear that this wasn’t particularly satisfactory, so as a result an independent body was established.

This is the Criminal Cases Review Commission, or CCRC for short.

 

Procedure with the CCRC

Anyone who has been convicted, and feels that they shouldn’t have been, can apply to the CCRC to look at their case. The CCRC produce a guide for applicants.

Sometimes an applicant may have, or be asking to obtain, a specific piece of evidence for example, a DNA test. Othertimes it may be that they are generally dissatisfied and want their case to be re-investigated without any specific trigger, although there are normally points that they would highlight.

This is important as the CCRC won’t refer a case unless there is some fresh evidence or a new understanding of the law. There are exceptions, the case of Barry George is generally seen as one where the general unease that was widely felt about the conviction caused the matter to go back to the Court of Appeal, but you need something for the Court of Appeal to look at and thing ‘ah yes, we got it wrong before because of ….

There is a requirement that the person has already ‘exhausted their rights of appeal’ – which means that they have already either appealed, or at least tried to appeal, their conviction

Sometimes, this can be waived if there is a very good reason, but they would often say to go and ask the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal out of time.

The CCRC will conduct an investigation and prepare a report. If they think that there is a ‘real possibility’ that the Court of Appeal would allow an appeal, then they have a discretion to refer the case.

The above is formalised in s13 Criminal Appeals Act 1995 that created the CCRC. This reads as follows:

A reference of a conviction, verdict, finding or sentence shall not be made under any of sections 9 to 12 unless—

 (a) the Commission consider that there is a real possibility that the conviction, verdict, finding or sentence would not be upheld were the reference to be made,

 (b) the Commission so consider—

    (i) in the case of a conviction, verdict or finding, because of an argument, or evidence, not  raised in the proceedings which led to it or on any appeal or application for leave to appeal against it, or

   (ii)in the case of a sentence, because of an argument on a point of law, or information, not so raised, and

(c) an appeal against the conviction, verdict, finding or sentence has been determined or leave to appeal against it has been refused.

This has been widely criticised as being too narrow. Both because there is (in theory) no referral on the grounds that the person is probably innocent and the Court has just got it wrong previously, and because the ‘real possibility’ test is too restrictive as well as meaning that the CCRC needs to second guess the Court of Appeal.

 

How long is the process?

Depends on the case. Some are straightforward and can have a very quick turnaround (sometimes a matter of days, although that is unusual). Others are a lot more complicated, and can take months, particularly if lengthy investigations are needed.

Other than that, the CCRC will prioritise some cases over others. Those where someone is in prison are an obvious example.

There are three levels of priority, and the CCRC have a formal policy statement of how they consider and prioritise cases.

 

What about the Magistrates’ Courts?

The procedure is the same, but the referral is back to the Crown Court for an appeal. For various reasons, applications to the CCRC from magistrates court cases are fewer, but they do still happen (I have had four successful referrals).

 

Does it cost anything?

Nope, it’s free.

 

Do I need a lawyer? Can I get one if I want one?

You don’t need a lawyer, the system is designed to operate without one, however we would advise that you get one to draft the application.

This is because it will make the process much smoother and much easier for the CCRC to deal with (which makes it more likely you’ll get the result you want). It’s also the case that a lawyer may pick up on things that you have not spotted (this has happened on a case that I have dealt with).

Having said that, there are plenty of cases that succeed without a lawyer. I have represented two people in the Court of Appeal who drafted their own application to the CCRC where I only got involved after the CCRC had referred the case).

You will often be eligible for legal aid for CCRC applications – speak to a solicitor who has a criminal legal aid franchise about that.

 

Can the CCRC refer a sentence?

Yes, although this is very rare. It does happen though if there is some particular point of principle.

 

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Scales of justice

Hidden camera TV show discovers people are prepared to hide evidence of a murder

On 22 October 2014, The Daily Mail covered a story about a TV show that, using hidden cameras, demonstrated that “ordinary people” – as the Mail termed them – are willing to hide seemingly incriminating evidence at the request of a friend.

The basic premise

Four “ordinary” – whatever that means – members of the public were asked by one of their friends to help cover up a crime. They were told about an incriminating bloody shirt and asked to hide it. Each of the four individuals helped their friend and took steps to either hide the shirt or were evasive with the ‘police’ who came to speak to them.

The TV show – How To Get Away With Murder – was shown on Universal on 22 October 2014 at 10pm.

Legal issues?

Unfortunately I did not see the show, and so I only have the Mail report to go on. However, one wonders whether the four individuals are slightly nervous about a potential prosecution.

Their acts, although “set up”, would likely constitute an offence of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Perverting the course of justice is a common law offence, triable on indictment only, and for which the maximum sentence is life imprisonment. The offence is made out where a person

  • does an act (a positive act or series of acts is required; mere inaction is insufficient)
  • which has a tendency to pervert and
  • which is intended to pervert
  • the course of public justice.

The ‘course of public justice’ includes the police investigation into a possible crime and does not require legal proceedings to have begun.

On the face of it, acts to hide evidence or to assist in the avoidance of detection for a crime, would be sufficient to find that the offence was made out.

As we know, the courts treat this type of offence seriously – cast your mind back to the Chris Huhne/Vicky Pryce/Constance Briscoe matter, which saw all three serve a custodial sentence for perverting the course of justice.

Would they actually be prosecuted?

Unlikely. Aside from the public interest (although I can see an argument that such a prosecution would meet this test) there would no doubt be issues surrounding the intention, the feature of entrapment and the lack of knowledge as to the origin of the shirt.

No doubt Universal had their lawyers consider these issues (and whether the TV channel could be prosecuted also and came to the conclusion that legal proceedings were highly unlikely.

A lesson?

A lesson to the “ordinary” member of the public; in different circumstances, hiding your friend’s bloody claw hammer or discretely disposing of a blood-stained rug is likely to get you into trouble. But you probably knew that anyway.

If anyone saw the show and has any comments on it, please do let us know what you thought.

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The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill and MoJ misinformation

The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill is currently making its way through Parliament, containing, among other things, amendments to sentencing legislation. Thanks to David Allen Green (@JackofKent), @JoshuaRozenberg and others – who over the weekend were discussing the “non-news story” that was the plans to increase the maximum sentence for offences committed by internet trolls (s.1 Malicious Comms Act 1988) from 6 months to 2 years – I had cause to read an MoJ press release about the Bill…

Ending automatic early release

What is likely to become section 4 of the Act when enacted makes provision for ending automatic early release for those serving extended sentences.

An extended sentence is one which includes a custodial part and a licence part. The licence part is designed to deal with the risk posed by the offender, whereas the custodial part is designed (predominantly) to satisfy the punitive aspect of the sentence. An extended sentence can only be imposed where the court has found the offender to be ‘dangerous’ – that is that they pose ‘a significant risk of serious harm to members of the public’.

There are currently two types of extended sentence, for the purposes of determining release. The first, is where the custodial period of the sentence is 10 years or more and the offender has a previous conviction for a Schedule 15B offence (this includes things such as manslaughter, s.18 GBH and rape). In those circumstances, release is discretionary at the 2/3 point, and the offender has to apply to the parole board. If the parole board consider that the offender is safe to release, the offender is released on licence (to serve the remained of the custodial period on licence, and then the period of extended licence on top of that). If the parole board do not consider that the offender is safe to release, the offender is not released and is liable to automatic release at the expiry of the custodial term, at which point he or she will be released to serve their extended licence.

The second type of extended sentence for the purposes of release is cases which do not fall into the first type (which is most of them). In such cases, the offender is automatically released at the 2/3 point and the parole board do not get the opportunity to consider the offender’s case. The offender is released to serve the remainder of the custodial period on licence, and then the extended licence on top of that.

The provisions contained in the Bill will change that. Automatic early release will end, and so all offenders serving an extended sentence, of any length, irrespective of whether they have a previous conviction for a Schedule 15B offence, will have to go before the parole board.

Wasted money and misinformation

Where to start? Well firstly, the extended sentence legislation was brought in by the current government, with the current Sec of State for Justice at the helm, in December 2012.

The MoJ brought in legislation which repealed the IPP (Imprisonment for Public Protection) sentence (an IPP sentence was very close to a life sentence as an offender receiving such a sentence was given a minimum term of custody which had to be served before an application to the parole board could be made for their release; this meant that an offender receiving an IPP sentence may never be released, and could only be released if the parole board deemed it safe to do so). This repeal left a gap in the sentencing powers for dangerous offenders, as the only options were an extended sentence or a life sentence. In December 2012, I predicted this would result in more life sentences. In 2013, the Court of Appeal made the same comment. 

In October 2014, Minister of State for Justice Lord Faulks QC made a speech at the Criminal Justice Management Conference, during which he said:

The government is tackling automatic early release. It cannot be right that serious sex offenders and terrorists may serve only half their sentence in prison and – regardless of how they have progressed with their rehabilitation – are then released automatically midway through their sentence.

The Bill therefore introduces measures to end automatic early release for anyone given an extended determinate sentence, or sentenced to standard determinate custody for the rape of a child or for serious terrorism offences. No such offenders will be released before the end of their custodial term, unless the Parole Board judges that they no longer pose a risk of serious harm to the public.

The effect is to require the parole board to assess every single extended sentence prisoner at the 2/3 point of their sentence to determine whether they ought to be released. If release is not granted, the offender will be released at the expiry of the custodial term. (Interestingly, if we compare this to the previous extended sentences under the 2003 Act, release was granted at the half way point, so in a little under 3 years, the practical effect of receiving an extended sentence will have potentially doubled. Take the following example of a 6 year extended sentence with 1 year licence:

2003 extended sentence: automatic release after 3 years: 3 years on licence + 1 year extended licence

2012 extended sentence: automatic release after 4 years: 2 years on licence + 1 year extended licence

2014 (?) extended sentence: possible release at 4 and automatic release at 6 years (with balance of custody spent on licence) + 1 year extended licence.

So some 18 months after the MoJ introduced this legislation, it amends it, to plug the gap left by the legislation they repealed. Not only is this a waste of money (because, had they conducted their research properly in the first place this change could have been implemented by one piece of primary legislation rather than two (at god only knows what cost) but the MoJ then conveniently omit from their press release the fact that they are making a significant amendment to a piece of legislation they brought in to force only 18 months ago.

Terrorism and sexual offences

The Bill also includes a provision to end automatic release for “offenders of particular concern” – that is someone who has committed an offence listed in Schedule 18A when aged 18+.Where a court imposes a determinate sentence (i.e. not a life sentence or extended sentence, because the offender is ‘dangerous’) for an offence listed in Schedule 18A (e.g. rape of a child under 13 or possessing an article for terrorist purposes), then the offender will have to apply to the parole board upon reaching the half way point in his or her sentence before they can be released. Again, the parole board will only release the prisoner if it is safe to do so. This is notwithstanding that the court has not found the offender to be ‘dangerous’ and therefore not imposed a sentence which requires the parole board to assess the safety of release. Is this purely political? If the government considers that the current dangerousness test is adequate, and that judges are applying it correctly (which we must assume, as there are no amendments to it in the Bill – ideal time to make any), then it must expect the parole board to grant release to all of the offenders caught by this change. What as waste of time and money for the parole board; but you can’t put a price on good political capital, and everyone dislikes terrorists and child rapists.

One truly wonders who is responsible for such errant law-making…

This post was sponsored by Tranter Cleere Solicitors.

Tranter

 

Photos from the BBC

Robert Cerqua – life imprisonment for murdering his twin

Introduction

We looked yesterday, 20th October 2014, at the case of Robert Cerqua who was convicted of the murder of his twin bother last New Years Eve. The case was adjourned overnight and on 21st October, Robert was sentenced to life imprisonment.

This is a mandatory sentence, the question being how long the tariff should be. We found out a little bit more about Robert’s background – he “had served previous prison sentences for offences of battery and affray relating to domestic incidents involving his former partners. He also had previous convictions for motoring offences and criminal damage“.

We predicted that the tariff would be in the region of 13-14 years. How did we do? The sentencing remarks haven’t been published yet, but from the news reports, the tariff was actually set at 13 years, so pretty much what we expected. It is, in the circumstances of sentencing for murder, a (relatively) humane way of bringing this tragic case to a close.

 

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Photo from the Essex Chronicle

Danielle Watson admits fraudulently claiming to have cancer to pay for wedding

Introduction

Weddings nowadays can be ruinously expensive. Saying ‘I do’ to the one you love can easily set you back a five figure sum (and then sum). Not surprising then, that in an age of austerity people have to be a bit creative.

Back in early 2012, blushing bride to be Danielle Watson (aged 24) hit on an alternative method of crowdsourcing the funding for her wedding – pretending that “she had stage four cervical cancer and had brought her wedding forward to April, so that it would take place before radiotherapy and chemotherapy made her hair fall out“.

The good folk of Colchester responded admirably to this – “she got free or discounted deals on haircuts, a wedding dress, a wedding reception at the Ivory Rooms in Billericay and, at fundraising events, she raised almost £10,000 towards “vitamin C treatment”“.

It turned out that she had never had cancer or any treatment for cancer, as she admitted on the 20th October 2014 on the first day of her trial for six counts of fraud relating to this.

The case has been adjourned to sentence to the 9th January 2015. It’s not clear why such a long period of time – this would usually indicate the need for medical reports to be obtained.

 

What will she get?

The starting point are the Sentencing Guidelines for Fraud (hot off the press from 1st October this year). Follow the link and go to page 6.

It is still early days of these, but we’d suggest that it is ‘High Culpability’ (which is Culpability A)on the basis of the blatant fraud, the number of victims and the circumstances are such that it is akin to having vulnerable victims and/or an abuse of trust.

On the basis of of the amount obtained (or intended to be obtained) being over the £10,000 the harm is bang in the middle of Category 4. There will be a small amount (about 10%) credit for the plea of guilty.

This gives a starting point of 18 months, with a range of 6 months to 3 years. It is difficult to know what she will get. One view would be that this is a really serious offence as it is such a cold and calculating offence that preys on people’s generosity. This would lead to a sentence of about 18-24 months.

The other view is that this is someone who has never been in trouble before (which would appear to be the case) and this is something that escalated and got out of hand. This would give a sentence of about 12-18 months, but suspended.

We don’t know which of those two broad scenarios this case would fall into it. We’ll be back in January to have a look though.

Photo from the BBC

Garron Helm jailed for an anti-semitic tweet

Introduction

The day after the newspapers picked up the story from many months ago that errant tweeters would be sent to prison for two years, another social media prosecution hits the headlines.

On 20th October 2014 Garron Helm (described as having links to an ‘extremist right wing group’) was sent to prison for 4 weeks for sending an anti-semitic tweet to Luciana Berger the MP for Liverpool Waverley.

The prosecution was probably under the Malicious Communications Act 1988 which requires the tweet to have been grossly offensive.

 

What was said?

One of the most frustrating things about these cases is that the news outlets never report exactly what is said. Sometimes this is understandable, but it would be useful for there to be some indication at least as to why we are paying for people to be prosecuted and imprisoned.

Here, the BBC were less than clear. The Liverpool Echo however, had more detail. It seems that there was a photo “which showed a Holocaust-era star on the MP’s head with the hashtag ‘Hitler was right’. Additionally, “The tweet then called the MP a “communist Jewess” and read: “You can always trust a Jew to show their true colours eventually.

Ms Berger stated that she was (understandably) ‘deeply shocked’ by the tweet. The Judge said that the offence was racially aggravated (again, perhaps understandably).

 

What was the sentence?

The Judge would have been guided by the Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines. The best place to start would be at page 42. Based on the sentence, it would fall in the category of – “Single call where extreme language used and substantial distress or fear caused to receiver“.

Additionally, the surcharge was imposed in the sum of £80. Incidentally, we think that this may have been wrong. This is because the offence was committed on 7th August 2014, which is before the law changed so that someone sent to prison by the Magistrates’ Court could get a surcharge imposed – see here for more details of this.

 

Why is it a criminal offence?

The CPS have their own guidelines as to when people should be prosecuted for ‘social media’ offences.

This clearly does not fall into the first 3 categories, so it then comes down to an assessment of whether this should be prosecuted in all the circumstances of the case.

It is a difficult one. The tweet is clearly a vile and racist one, and is illegal under the law. However, it is a different question whether a prosecution is compatible with Art 10 and the CPS policy. Whether a prosecution should have followed in this case is less clear cut. I would suggest that whilst it is not clear cut, especially when considering there is only one tweet, this should not have been prosecuted (with the caveat that there may well be other matters that we are not aware of).

One consequence of making these sorts of offences either way is that people can then have trial by jury. Whilst it may mean higher penalties, it also means that people who are concerned about freedom of speech have the protection of a jury – and in the end who better to decided what is and isn’t acceptable but a jury? It also means that the CPS will have to think a bit more carefully before prosecuting people, which can only be a good thing.

Photo from the BBC

Robert Cerqua guilty of murdering his twin

Introduction

On New Years Eve 2013,  Robert Cerqua was at the family home in Hythe in Hampshire with his twin brother Nicholas and other members of his family. After alcohol had been consumed, Robert and Nicholas had an argument.

The prosecutor told Winchester Crown Court that “That argument appears to have turned into a tussle, punches may have been exchanged, at some point this defendant picked up a kitchen knife and he used it to stab his brother Christopher.”

Robert accepted killing his brother, but said that it was done in self-defence after his brother had threatened him with a knife. On 20th October 2014 the jury in his trial found Robert guilty by a majority of 10-2. He will be sentenced tomorrow.

 

What sentence will he get?

The only sentence that can be passed is one of life imprisonment. The issue for the Judge will be how the tariff – the minimum period of time before Robert can be considered for release, will be.

Our fact sheet sets out how the Judge will set about that task. Here, the starting point will be 15 years. There was a trial, so there can be no credit for a guilty plea. We would, however, expect a tariff of under 15 years in any event.

The reason for this is that it would appear that this was a moment (or couple of moments) of anger from Robert. In those circumstances, it may well be that the Judge will feel that this is the sort of case where a bit of mercy can be shown (relatively speaking), and reduce the tariff to somewhere in the region of 13-14 years.

If it was a drunken argument, then it may be that the Judge sees this as an unpremeditated act, where there was no intention to kill (but to cause really serious harm), and real remorse was shown afterwards. None of the aggravating features appear to be present, and therefore whilst the 15 years is a starting point, it may be that that will be reduced. The fact that the victim is his twin brother may well be seen as a mitigating feature to some extent.

 

We’ll come back tomorrow to see …

Photo from the BBC

Mark Dyson sentenced for killing his wife

 

Introduction

On 29th April 2014 Mark Dyson, then aged 55, returned to his home in Adlington which he shared with his wife Carole (aged 53), and strangled her. In the next few days, concerns were raised about her safety and her body was found when Police attended her address.

Facts

The BBC report is short to the point of terseness. The reporting is a bit fuller in the Lancashire Evening Post.

It seems that Mr “Dyson had suffered from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder caused by the premature death of the couple’s 15-year-old daughter and also a rare condition which caused him to believe he was in constant pain”.

Mrs Dyson appears to have been his carer. There was a history of Mr Dyson being violent and abusive, but not for ‘many years’.

The cause of the murder appears to have been “when his wife refused to wait for him to get up when the couple were due to go out. He strangled her with his bare hands and then possibly smothered her with a pillow.

He then walked to nearby Chorley Hospital and told staff “something terrible” had happened. He said he had been in pain for some time and his wife had been “nasty” to him”.

Sentence

The only sentence available was the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. The question for the Judge was how long the tariff, the minimum period of time that Mr Dyson should serve before he can be considered for release, should be.

In this case, there do not appear to be any of the aggravating features. The only mitigating feature that is apparent is Mr Dyson’s mental health. For that reason, we would expect that the Judge would have taken the starting point of 15 years and reduced it by a little bit to reflect that. This would give a tariff of 14 years or so.

So far, so good. However, Mr Dyson pleaded guilty. It was not at the first available opportunity, but he did accept his responsibility for the homicide of his wife straight away. In light of that, he should receive a fair amount of credit.

The maximum credit for murder is 1/6th (rather than the usual 1/3rd) up to a maximum of 5 years. It is an interesting question whether the reduction in credit in cases like Mr Dyson should start at a third or not.

Assuming that it doesn’t, there should still have been a reduction in the region of about two years. For that reason, the 14-year tariff is longer than we would have thought. Whether the Court of Appeal will interfere with it is a different matter. Firstly, there may well be matters not in the news reports that we are not aware of. Secondly, as the Courts are fond of saying, “sentencing is an art, not a science”.

Nevertheless, we would expect that Mr Dyson will try to appeal the sentence. We’ll keep you up to date.

 

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