Out of time IPP sentence appeal succeeds

5 December 2011

In R v Pritchard (Court of Appeal Criminal Division 27th October 2011 – unreported), the Appellant was sentenced in 2005 to imprisonment for public protection (IPP) for an offence of robbery. Her appeal against sentence was lodged long out of time, the grounds having come to light after she sought advice in connection with parole proceedings.

The Appellant was sentenced before the IPP regime was amended (with effect from 14th July 2008) by the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. Under the original provisions the court was required to impose an IPP for an offence of robbery if satisfied that the defendant was “dangerous”™, ie, that there was a significant risk that he/she would cause serious harm by the commission of further specified offences.

In the leading case of Lang [2006] 2 Cr App R (S) 3 the Court of Appeal emphasised that before a finding of “dangerousness” could be made sentencers had to be satisfied that there was a significant risk of the offender committing further specified offences and that he/she would cause serious harm as a result. “Serious harm”™ is defined as “death or serious personal injury, whether physical or psychological”.

In this case the Court of Appeal accepted the submission made on the Appellant’s behalf that the information before the court did not justify the conclusion that she posed a significant risk of causing serious harm. The Court quashed the sentence of IPP and substituted a determinate sentence which resulted in the Appellant’s immediate release from custody.

Ms Pritchard was represented by Garden Court North Chambers’ Kate Stone, instructed by Ian McArdle of James Murray Solicitors.

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