The case of Neil Wilson attracted a huge amount of publicity (see here for our coverage) and the sentence was condemned from various quarters (both from the very informed, and the less so).
In light of that, it is perhaps not surprising that the case was referred to the Court of Appeal by the Attorney-General (effectively an appeal against sentence by the prosecution).
Well. We found out today that the appeal was allowed – the sentence was increased to two years immediate imprisonment instead of the suspended sentence.
This means that Mr. Wilson will have to attend his local police station where he will be arrested and taken to prison to serve the sentence. He will spend twelve months in prison and then be released to spend a year being supervised by Probation in the community. The other orders made by the Judge will remain in place.
Was this right? Was it just? At the moment, we just don’t know. The Court of Appeal will haw given an oral judgment. This will be typed up and published in a couple of weeks (hopefully, given the public interest in this case, they will be typing it up this afternoon). We will certainly come back to it. Until then, there is some information to be gleaned from the BBC News Report.
Two particular things that I will be looking out for see (1) what is said about double jeopardy (an idea which, sadly, seems to be going out of fashion) and (2) the actual reasons given. I mention (2) because reading the Stuart Hall Attorney-General reference, despite it being lengthy, there was no explanation by the Court of Appeal given for the length of the actual sentence passed.
We do know that the appeal was presided over the the Lord Chief Justice (with Henriques and Blake JJ). I have asked the Attorney-General to publish his skeleton argument (the written submissions to the Court of Appeal) in a redacted form, but we won’t hold our breath.