Sexual assault appeal succeeds – Oliver Saxby QC acting

October 10, 2018

The appeal against sentence of a young student given an immediate custodial sentence for an offence of sexual assault was yesterday upheld by the Court of Appeal, resulting in the appellant’s immediate release. Oliver Saxby QC appeared for the appellant, instructed by Susannah Proctor of ABR Solicitors, Leeds.

The appellant, aged 21 at the time of the offence, had pleaded guilty to the offence – the circumstances being that, affected by drink and drugs, he had touched the complainant, a fellow student, whilst she was asleep having herself consumed a considerable amount of alcohol.

It was agreed that the offence fell within Category 2B of the Sentencing Guidelines (there was touching of the naked genitalia) but the sentencing judge declined to impose a community penalty, as the Guidelines permitted; and, having come to the conclusion that a custodial sentence was inevitable, he declined to suspend it – passing an immediate term of 10 months.

Oliver was instructed to represent the appellant post-sentence, preparing Skeleton Submissions refining the various appeal points. In the event, the Court of Appeal was persuaded that the sentencing judge had fallen into error by taking into account irrelevant factors and failing sufficiently to explain why he had decided an immediate custodial sentence was inevitable. The Court proceeded to quash the original sentence, replacing it with a suspended sentence.