QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE OPENSHAW
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF|
|SOUTH AND SOUTH-EAST HANTS YOUTH COURT JUSTICES||(DEFENDANT)|
|THE CROWN PROSECUTION SERVICE||(INTERESTED PARTY)|
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited
190 Fleet Street London EC4A 2AG
Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7831 8838
(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
The DEFENDANT did not appear and was not represented
MISS KATE LUMSDON appeared on behalf of the INTERESTED PARTY
Crown Copyright ©
Friday, 28th April 2006
"If the court is of the opinion that none of the other methods in which the case may legally be dealt with is suitable, the court may sentence the offender to be detained for such period not exceeding the maximum term of imprisonment with which the offence is punishable in the case of a person aged 18 or over, as may be specified in the sentence."
"(i) the policy of the legislature, as correctly identified by Leveson J in R (on the application of H, A and O) v Southampton Youth Court  EWHC 2912 Admin and approved by the Divisional Court in R (on the application of the Crown Prosecution Service) v Redbridge Youth Court  EWHC 1390 Admin paragraph 11(2), is that those who are under 18 should, wherever possible, be tried in a Youth Court, which is best designed for their specific needs;
(ii) the guidance given by the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division), in particular in paragraph 17 of the judgment in Lang & Ors, particularly in (iv) in relation to non-serious specified offences;
(iii) the need, in relation to those under 18, to be particularly rigorous before concluding that there is a significant risk of serious harm by the commission of further offences: such a conclusion is unlikely to be appropriate in the absence of a pre-sentence report following assessment by a young offender team;
(iv) in most cases where a non-serious specified offence is charged, an assessment of dangerousness will not be appropriate until after conviction, when, if the dangerousness criteria are met, the defendant can be committed to the Crown Court for sentence - a procedure with which the Crown Court has, for many years, been familiar;
(v) when a youth under 18 is jointly charged with an adult, an exercise of judgment will be called for by the Youth Court when assessing the competing presumptions in favour of (a) joint trial of those jointly charged and (b) the trial of youths in the Youth Court. Factors relevant to that judgment will include the age and maturity of the youth, the comparative culpability in relation to the offence and the previous convictions of the two and whether the trial can be severed without either injustice or undue inconvenience to witnesses."
"Having viewed the videos of all the witnesses, read the transcripts, considered the transcripts of the defendant's interview and looked at a note written by the complainant, one forms the view that this was a case of very ill-judged sexual experimentation by the applicant upon a girl who, despite the difference in age, was one of his friends."
"The Youth Court in declining jurisdiction had regard to the test set out in R (H, A and O) v Southampton Youth Court  EWCA Admin 2912. The test set out in that case was that the jurisdiction should remain with the Youth Court unless there was a real prospect that this defendant might require a sentence of two years or more, or alternatively that was an unusual feature of the case. That test was brought to the Youth Court's attention and was applied in the instant case."
"alternatively, that even though the sentence might be less than two years, there is some unusual feature which justifies declining jurisdiction."