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There are occasions when a sentence will be increased by the Court of Appeal, if it deems the original sentence to be ‘unduly lenient’.
Court Of Appeal
Will your sentence be deemed unduly lenient?
If you are found guilty of a criminal offence, a judge or a panel of Magistrates will decide what punishment you should receive. This could be a community order, a fine or a prison sentence.
The Solicitor General reviews the sentences handed out by the courts. If a sentence is considered too lenient, the Solicitor General can raise a challenge at the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal will then consider whether the original sentence should be upheld or amended.
According to the law, a sentence is unduly lenient if it falls outside of the range of sentences “which the judge, applying his mind to all the relevant factors, could reasonably consider appropriate”.
In other words, for a sentence to be considered unduly lenient, the sentencing judge must have made some kind of error. If this mistake is not altered, then public confidence would be damaged.
Examples in which sentences have been increased
There are lots of examples of unduly lenient cases in which the sentence has been increased by the Court of Appeal.
One such case is that of Dipu Ahad, a previous councillor in Newcastle. He manipulated his standing in the community to stalk and harass a victim, while making it appear as though this behaviour was being carried out by her former partner. Ahad was originally sentenced to 14 months’ imprisonment, but the Solicitor General challenged the sentence as being too lenient. The Court of Appeal agreed and his sentence was doubled to 28 months’ imprisonment.
Another example is the recent case of Ionut Voicu, who was given a community order for a number of child sexual offences. He thought he was engaging in sexual communications online with a 13-year-old girl, but it was actually an undercover police officer. His sentence was increased from a community order to three years and four months’ imprisonment.
There is also the case of three men who tortured and falsely imprisoned a man over six hours, causing grievous bodily harm. One man was originally sentenced to 9 years’ imprisonment, which was increased to 13 years by the Court of Appeal. The other two were handed a prison term of 10 years and three months, which was increased to 13 years and six months.
Court Of Appeal solicitors – England and Wales
We represent clients at all stages of legal proceedings. If your sentence has been challenged by the Solicitor General, we can represent your interests at the Court of Appeal, arguing against a sentence increase.
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