London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE EDIS
THE RECORDER OF LEEDS
HIS HONOUR JUDGE COLLIER QC
(Sitting as a Judge of the CACD)
|R E G I N A|
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"1. The starting point of 10 years was within the guidelines but justifiably at the top end of the bracket. It is suggested that there is disparity between this sentence and the sentence imposed on [another man] after pleading guilty to involvement in a separate larger conspiracy. I do not consider that a sentence on a participant in a different conspiracy can be used to advance a case of disparity.
2. The starting point of 10 years was reduced to 9 years to reflect the unusual and personal mitigation available to the applicant. It is suggested that a greater reduction was appropriate to reflect that mitigation. I am not persuaded that it is arguable that a reduction of one year was outside the range of permissible reductions to reflect this mitigation."
We agree with those observations and would only add this. The Recorder regarded the misuse of a family bereavement to found a dishonest defence as, if anything, a somewhat aggravating feature. That was a factor which he was uniquely able to assess having presided over the trial and we would not wish to undermine that finding which appears to us to be certainly open to him. The Recorder did not make a reduction in sentence in the usual proportions where an offender has given valuable assistance to the police. In our judgment he was entitled to take that course. That approach is rather confirmed by a note which has been placed before us by Mr Smith, fulfilling his duty as counsel to assist the court even with material which may not strongly advance his client's case. That note includes the text of an email from the police officer who was in charge of the investigation of this murder, two convictions having been obtained but one further suspect being at large. The officer says, in summary, that the applicant has been extremely careful in what he was prepared to tell the enquiry into his son's murder, if anything, and that the information that he has provided was exiguous. That, it seems to us, reinforces the Recorder's rather sceptical approach to this aspect of the case as a proper head of mitigation. Nevertheless, he did discount the sentence by one year and in doing so, in our judgment, plainly did justice. For those reasons we consider that this application is not properly arguable and it is dismissed.
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