Richard English, a barrister with Lincoln House Chambers, Manchester, instructed by Mary Monson Solicitors, appeared on Thursday 24 January 2019 at the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) in London to renew an appeal against the length of sentence imposed upon their client JD by a judge at the Crown Court in Manchester.
As leave to appeal had been refused by the Single Judge, Richard was representing JD pro-bono. JD had been sent to jail for two and a half years following his conviction for a number of sexual assaults committed in the early 1990s when he was 15 years of age.
It was submitted on JD’s behalf that, while the offending crossed the custody threshold, the sentence imposed was too long and, any jail term should have been suspended.
The Court of Appeal – Lord Justice Simon, Mrs Justice McGowan and HH Judge Burbidge QC – were persuaded by Richard’s submissions that the sentence imposed was manifestly excessive. Noting that the offender was a child when the offences were committed, they concluded the starting point adopted by the Crown Court judge was too high as it failed to take account of the statutory maximum sentence in force at the time the offences were committed. Given that JD had not been convicted of any further offences, the sentence could be suspended.
The Court granted leave and reduced the sentence to one of two years imprisonment, suspended for twelve months, ensuring JD’s immediate release from prison.
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