Marlon King – appeal dismissed

Marlon King – appeal dismissed



We didn’t actually cover the case of Marlon King, the former footballer who was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment on 15th May 2014 for dangerous driving. He had caused a three car pile up that left one man in hospital for weeks when weaving in and out traffic, and undercutting another driver, all whilst eating an ice cream.



Mr King tried to appeal the sentence on 9th September 2014, saying that it should have been suspended. This didn’t get very far, with the Court of Appeal saying “It was an unusually bad offence of its kind with episodes of extremely aggressive driving and sudden changes of lane and speed on a busy road culminating with him stopping, blocking the path of a vehicle and causing the collisions which followed. It was, in truth, deliberately dangerous driving, which may have resulted in far more serious injuries or worse“.

We don’t have the transcript, so we don’t have full details, It seems that the basis that Mr King was saying that the sentence should be suspended so that he could join his family who recently moved to Zambia and were struggling to settle.

The actual sentence itself, of 18 months, doesn’t seem to have been challenged. Given that the maximum sentence for Dangerous Driving, the sentence was certainly high, but given that he had only pleaded guilty shortly before the trial was probably not ‘manifestly excessive’.



There is, infuriatingly, no guidance as to when a sentence should be suspended. Hopefully when we have the full judgment we will an inkling of a kind of test that could be used in these sorts of cases. Hopefully. I won’t be holding my breath though.

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


  1. At least Marlon Animal King is back behind bars where he belongs won’t be long before some football club signs him – again

  2. The appeal court had the benefit of the first instance judge’s sentencing remarks, as follows.


    A former footballer, eh?

    So, you are very practised in exactly to sort of advanced spatial reasoning that is required to run as fast as you can, whilst controlling a football, that is also needed in order to drive as one can, in the manner that this court has heard described, whilst controlling an ice cream.

    But you’re not as experienced in verbal reasoning, are you?

    When running with possession of the ball, with the aim of getting past defenders who are blocking one’s one’s path, making rapid decision whether to pass them on the left or on the right, and taking them by surprise by giving few or deliberately confusing signals of one’s intention, occasional collisions are an accepted occupational hazard. On the other hand, when driving whilst eating an ice cream, there is a solemn duty to avoid collisions, because, unlike football, driving is strictly a “no contact” high-speed sport.

    I am sorry that your counsel has said, in mitigation, that you felt some ice cream drip from your mouth to yourself shirt, and therefore told yourself you were “dribbling” at the time of the bad driving. That admittedly potentially confusing ambiguity of the verb “to dribble”, offered in ingenious mitigation by your counsel, could all too easily have become a killer pun, in the circumstances.


    Appeal dismissed accordingly.