The Court of Appeal Criminal Division has made available a judgment, overturning the findings and sentence imposed by a Crown Court judge.
The case concerned the sentencing of a man who had admitted manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility. The man, Joe Walker, had killed his father in the course of a psychotic episode. At Preston Crown Court his plea for a s.37/41 MHA 82 order had been rejected. At first instance the sentencing judge held that the defendant bore the highest level of criminal responsibility and sentenced him to life imprisonment with a hybrid order to allow for necessary treatment. On 11th May 2023, on appeal, the sentence was overturned. The Court of Appeal held that the judge’s findings were wrong, not justified by the available evidence and were, in any event, unreasoned. It was emphasised that cases of this sort required a coherent rebuttal of the evidence, as per the established principles in Flannery v Halifax. The Court of Appeal also held, having received fresh evidence, that the circumstances of the case were best met by the imposition of the hospital order that had been originally sought. A transcript of the judgment is attached below.
Tim Storrie KC and Philip Holden acted for Joe Walker, instructed by the Registrar of Criminal Appeals.