Mairead Philpott appeal dismissed – and on tele

Mairead Philpott appeal dismissed – and on tele




The case of the Philpotts is well known, and well documented (our coverage is here). We have looked at the history of the potential appeal and the fact that it was set to be televised.

Well, on 29th November 2013 we found out the result – her appeal was dismissed. Mr Mosely  had previously sought to renew his application  but had withdrew it.

You can at least watch the judgment and do not have to wait for it to be published. It is not particularly surprising that the appeal was dismissed – it was an awful case and one where there is no guidance that covers this sort of offending.

The sentence passed was not out of the range of manslaughter sentences and therefore, notwithstanding Ms Philpott’s lesser role in the whole business, it is not easy to say that it is manifestly excessive. Ms Philpott always had an uphill struggle, particularly in such a high profile case.


Thoughts on TV

The BBC article shows the judgment being given and you can see clips on many other news sites. I haven’t, I’m afraid, watched the whole thing (I do have a day job to be getting on with).

It is an impossible question to know what difference the cameras made. It could be said that the judgement was given at a slower pace than usual, but that could be just my imagination.


Granting permission

If you are not a lawyer you may have missed the part at the end where the Lord Chief Justice said “although because of the unique nature of this case Mr Smith [Ms Philpott’s barrister] acted very properly in bringing the appeal to this Court and therefore we should grant leave“.

For a lawyer, particularly Ms Philpott’s lawyer, this was significant. We have a factsheet on how appeals work which set out the importance, generally, of getting leave to appeal.

The appeal was dismissed so the fact that leave was granted to pursue the appeal may seem a pointless victory. There are two consequences. Firstly, this means that an application could be made to the Supreme Court for a further appeal. This will not happen in Ms Philpott’s case (there is no point of general importance which would be needed – sentencing cases almost never go higher than the Court of Appeal).

For Ms Philpott’s lawyer, this was a professional victory however. The reason is is that the Court of Appeal, having granted leave to appeal, will grant a representation order and so Mr Smith will get paid.

Dan is a barrister at 2 Dr. Johnson’s Buildings practising in crime.


    • That’s generally the position. The Court of Appeal very occasionally will grant a Representation Order if permission is not granted, but that is very rare. In this case Mr Smith would probably not have been paid otherwise …