Out-of-time appeal: Court of Appeal quashes IPP
In this case the Court of Appeal granted the Appellant an extension of time of over 4 years for leave to appeal against his sentence, and proceeded to quash the sentence of imprisonment for public protection (âIPPâ).
R v Mottershead (Case No: 1000422 A9) (Hearing 11 June 2010)
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In this out-of-time appeal, the Court of Appeal (Pill LJ, Davies J and Foskett J) quashed a sentence of IPP, which had been imposed at the Chester Crown Court on 7 October 2005 (minimum term: 2 and a half years, less 100 days on remand). The Appellant had pleaded guilty to one count of robbery, one count of kidnapping, and related offences of driving whilst disqualified and without insurance.
The Court pointed out that these were extremely serious offences, where the victim had been put in great fear for his safety by the Appellant and those with him. The Appellant also had previous convictions for violence. However, the Court agreed that it had been unreasonable to conclude that the statutory assumption of dangerousness applied in this case. It noted that that the previous convictions had been relatively minor in nature: only two of the offences had merited short custodial sentences, and they were also somewhat dated.
In addition, the Court noted that the pre-sentence report writer had confirmed that the index offences were a âone-offâ, and that the Appellant was unlikely to re-offend in such a way in the future. Yet the sentencing Judge had not even referred to the pre-sentence report when he imposed the sentence of IPP.
Accordingly, the Court quashed the IPP sentence and replaced it with a determinate sentence. The consequence was that the Appellant was released immediately from custody.
This is an important example of the Court of Appeal being prepared and willing to extend time in order to quash a sentence of IPP that was plainly wrong. The Appellant was well over tariff and had had two parole reviews prior to this appeal hearing. The Court recognised, however, that it was only after the Appellantâs case was passed to his prison law solicitor, for the purposes of his parole review, that it was recognised for the first time that there could be grounds for appealing against the sentence.