Yesterday 14th November 2011 the Court of Appeal quashed a sentence of life imprisonment in the case of X and substituted a hospital order under s.37 of the Mental Health Act 1983 with a restriction order under s.41. This Appeal was the result of a successful CCRC referral as the case had been considered before by the Court of Appeal many years ago.

This decision brought to an end a long running process by which the legal team sought the appropriate sentence for a very vulnerable female client. To reach this point (because her case had been considered before by the Court of Appeal, many years ago), they had to convince the Criminal Cases Review Commission that the case met their criteria for a referral to the Court. The psychiatric evidence was very complicated and because of this and various other issues, it took the Commission some time to refer the case.

The decision to substitute a hospital order will mean that: X will no longer face the risk of being returned to prison; she will have a far more straightforward route to release in due course; restrictions post release will be subject to review and will not be life long (as they would otherwise be); any recall will be to hospital rather than prison and she will be able to claim appropriate benefits – something that is not open to a transferred prisoner.

Pete Weatherby Q.C represented X in the Court of Appeal, instructed by Michael Kennedy of Switalskis Solicitors.

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15th November 2012 - Switalskis victory in the Court of Appeal