Mark Robinson successful in Criminal Court of Appeal

Thursday 16 November 2023

Mark Robinson of the Garden Court Chambers Criminal Defence Team was instructed by the Criminal Appeals Office after the single Judge granted a Representation Order.

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Mark Robinson was successful in his defendant’s appeal in the Criminal Court of Appeal. The applicant was charged with two counts of Inciting a Child Under 13 to Engage in Sexual Activity, contrary to section 8(2) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and sentenced to nine years imprisonment, with an extended licence period of seven years. It is to be noted that no sexual activity actually took place.

The applicant then found a recent copy of the Sentencing Guidelines for Sexual Offences in his prison library, identified the issue for the appeal and then contacted the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), who then referred the case for leave to appeal against sentence and an application for an extension of time on A’s behalf as the application for leave to appeal was made 240 days after the relevant period to appeal elapsed. 

Mark, in his written submissions set out that the appeal was late because the defendant was not represented and upon reading the relevant sentencing guidelines immediately contacted the CCRC, Mark also relied upon the recent authority of R v JH [2023] EWCA Crim 795. In the substantive matter, Mark submitted that the trial Judge did not mention or apply any downward adjustment for sexual activity not taking place as per the Sentencing Council Guidelines,  “In Section 8 cases where activity is incited but does not take place, the court should identify the category of harm on the basis of the sexual activity the offender intended, and then apply a downward adjustment at step two to reflect the fact that no or lesser harm actually resulted”.  Mark also relied upon the leading authority of R v Reed [2021] 1 WLR 5429.

The full court found the sentence the trial judge imposed to be manifestly excessive, granted the extension of time and allowed the appeal, quashing the original sentence of nine-years custody and substituted it with a sentence of six years, and substituted the extended licence period of seven years with a licence period of six years. 

The court’s full judgement will be available in due course.

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