We covered the case of Ashley Charles, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Phillip Sherriff on 9th November 2012, last year. At the time, we did not have enough information to comment on the conviction, but indicated that the sentence passed (life imprisonment with a tariff of 14 years) seemed on the high side. There was some lively debate as to the case on the blog.
Since then, we have had it confirmed (from the Judicial Press Office) that Mr Charles did in fact lodge grounds of appeal, against both conviction and sentence, last December. This application was considered by the ‘Single Judge’ in May (we have an overview of the procedure on appeals here). He (or she) refused the conviction appeal, but granted permission for Mr Charles to appeal the sentence.
As is his right, Mr Charles has also applied to renew his application to appeal against the conviction. No date has been sent for any hearing, but it is likely that there will be a hearing of the appeal against sentence as well as the application for permission to appeal against the conviction, later this year.
We still don’t have enough to give any informed comment on the conviction appeal (other than to say that they are hard to win and the fact that the Single Judge did not see any merit in it is not a good start for Mr Charles). In relation to the sentence appeal, our original view was that the sentence was too high, but whether it is enough to say that the appeal will be allowed and Mr Charles sentence reduced, remains to be seen …
We shall keep you updated.