Successful appeal resulting in reduction of sentence - Joanne Jenkins at the Court of Appeal

Successful appeal resulting in reduction of sentence - Joanne Jenkins at the Court of Appeal thumbnail

Joanne Jenkins recently appeared in the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division for an appeal against sentence. The appeal was allowed and the sentence reduced by 18 months imprisonment.

The defendant had received an overall sentence of 10 years imprisonment in respect of four offences of robbery and one offence of theft (2 years 6 months imprisonment for each offence of robbery consecutive and 1 year imprisonment concurrent for the offence of theft). The defendant had pleaded guilty to all matters at the first opportunity.

There were effectively two grounds of appeal; firstly that the starting point for each offence of robbery was too high, and secondly that the judge did not give sufficient regard to the principle of totality. It was argued that the starting point was too high namely because of the guilty pleas entered by the defendant at the first opportunity. Further, there were mitigating features present. There were four offences of robbery, which itself was an aggravating feature, however the judge had described the offending as a ‘campaign’ of robberies. It was submitted that this was a ‘few’ robberies and not a ‘campaign’ and that the Court should pass a total sentence which reflected all of the offending behaviour before it, and that the sentence must be just and proportionate.

The appeal was allowed. The Court of Appeal held that these were serious offences that merited a high starting point, and it was noted that the four robbery offences were all strikingly similar by their facts. Further, there were aggravating features present. For each individual offence of robbery a sentence of 4 years imprisonment would have been endorsed by the Court of Appeal. However, the defendant had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and full credit was to be afforded to him. Further, the principle of totality must be applied to the sentencing exercise.

It was held that the total sentence of 10 years was too long. The sentence for the offences of robbery were reduced to 24 months imprisonment consecutive for each offence. The theft offence was also reduced to 6 months imprisonment consecutive, and therefore the total sentence was 8 years 6 months imprisonment.

The Court referred to the authority of R v Anwar [2010] EWCA Crim 2510, where the Court had reduced by one year a total sentence of seven years 6 months imprisonment imposed on a defendant, where the judge had failed to have sufficient regard to the principle of totality.