Court of Appeal allow appeal against sentence
May 9, 2023
Douglas Scott successfully reduced his client’s sentence in the Court of Appeal last week. The Appellant was originally sentenced to 21 months custody (reduced by 121 days for qualifying curfew). This sentence was quashed and replaced by 18 months custody (reduced by 121 days).
Two of the four grounds of appeal related to the sentencing judge’s erroneous approach to the Appellant’s basis of plea. The sentencing judge criticised the Appellant for not apologising or expressing remorse in his basis of plea and, in effect, treated the lack thereof as an aggravating factor. In the Court of Appeal, it was advanced on the Appellant’s behalf that this was wrong and that a basis of plea should be an “emotionless” document. It should stick to factual disputes.
The Court of Appeal held that there were legitimate grounds for submitting that the sentencing judge erroneously aggravated the Appellant’s sentence owing to the approach to the basis of plea. On this basis the Court of Appeal reduced the Appellant’s sentence by three months.
As a result of the time the Appellant had spent in custody already, the decision means that the Appellant is now eligible for immediate release under the Home Detention Curfew scheme.