Emin Kandola secures suspended sentence in Court of Appeal, resulting in release of mother, whose youngest child accompanied her to prison

February 28, 2024

Emin Kandola

On 7 April 2021, in the Crown Court at Woolwich Leah Jones and her co defendant pleaded guilty to counts relating to fraud. On 3 April 2023, at the same court before HHJ Downing, the appellant and her co-defendant were sentenced to concurrent terms of 31 months’ imprisonment on each count.

The total amount of fraud was £290,000; £180,000 in relation to the co-defendant and £110,000 in respect of the appellant. The issue at appeal, and that which resulted in a manifestly excessive sentence was that the Learned Judge sentenced the defendants on the basis of joint liability, despite the Crown presenting the defendants as separately liable. It was made clear as part of the prosecution case that the defendants were liable separately for their own fraudulent behaviour. Notwithstanding this, the Learned Judge sentenced on the basis of the total loss, therefore depriving the defendant of the lower starting point.

The Court of Appeal found that the Learned Judge erred and should have sentenced the appellant on the basis of the fraud attributable only to her, which would have yielded a starting point of four years.

In the circumstances laid out in the full judgment, after credit and mitigation, it was further considered that all the indicia for suspension were present and that the sentence should be suspended.  The sentence of 31 months’ imprisonment was quashed and substituted for a sentence of two years’ imprisonment suspended for two years.

Emin Kandola was instructed by Joseph Ring at Vyman Solicitors.