In this, the last of his series of articles regarding Historic Sexual Offences, Nazaqat Maqsoom of Kangs Solicitors now looks at the approach the Courts must take when sentencing and factors that they must take into account.

R v L [2017] EWCA Crim 43

This appeal, earlier this year, follows on from R v Forbes [2016] EWCA Crime 1388.

The Court of Appeal clarified the position in relation to the proper approach to be taken when sentencing an adult for sexual offences committed as a teenager.

The Court of Appeal held:

“Following Forbes, the position is, therefore, as follows:

(a) The general principle is that the relevant maximum penalty is the maximum penalty available for the offence at the date of the commission of the offence. 

(b) There is an exception to the general principle where the offender could not have received any form of custodial sentence at the time he committed the offence. 

(c) The exception is no licence for any broader inquiry.  If custody was available at the time of the offending for the offender, the age of an offender at the time of the commission of the offence is relevant solely to the assessment of culpability.  The only constraint in those circumstances on the powers of the sentencing court is the statutory maximum for the offence.  The court should not analyse the nature of the custody available for a young offender at the time, the maximum length of that custody, the court’s powers to commit for sentence as a grave crime or the principles governing sentencing of young offenders, in so far as they go beyond the importance of assessing culpability and maturity.” 

This reinforces the guidance contained in the Sentencing Council`s Sexual Offences Definitive Guideline.

The general principle is, that if found guilty of such an offence, the sentence imposed by the Court shall be in line with the Sentencing Guidelines that are in force on the date of sentencing.

However, the maximum sentence in such cases shall be limited to the maximum sentence that was available at the date of the offence.

Factors Taken Into Account Whilst Sentencing | Kangs Mitigation Solicitors

When sentencing an individual for an Historic Sexual Offence, the Court must take the following factors in to account:

  • The culpability of the offender, the harm intended and caused along with the seriousness of the offence
  • When assessing culpability of the offender, the Court should have regard to the relevant culpability factors set out in any relevant guideline
  • The passage of time since the offence must be considered by the Court as this can potentially aggravate the seriousness of the offence in circumstances where the individual has continued to offend. In circumstances where no further offending has taken place, it has the potential to mitigate the seriousness of the offence.
  • Harm Done – this must be assessed by the Court
  • Evidence of Good Character of the Defendant
  • Any Personal Mitigation
  • Credit/Reduction in Sentence for when Guilty Plea was entered
  • Any Admissions and time of when such Admissions were made
  • The age of the defendant at the time of the offence; if the defendant was very young and immature at the time.

How We Can Help | Kangs Sexual Allegation Defence Lawyers

As there might be other factors present which may materially affect the sentence to be  imposed by the Court, it is crucial that your legal team has the expertise and experience in dealing with cases that involve allegations of such a nature.

Kangs Solicitors are regularly instructed to represent people in serious criminal proceedings and provide a dedicated team of experienced solicitors who have a proven track record of achieving the best possible result available.

We have many years’ expertise in defending sexual abuse allegations, including historic allegations.

Kangs Solicitors Experience in Defending Sexual Offence Cases:

Some examples of our recent work can be found below:

Who Can I Contact? | Kangs Criminal Defence Specialist Solicitors

Arrangements can be made to meet at any of our offices in Birmingham, London and Manchester.

Please feel free to contact our team through any of the following who will be happy to speak to you and guide you:

Hamraj Kang
hkang@kangssolicitors.co.uk
07976 258171 | 020 7936 6396 | 0121 449 9888

John Veale
jveale@kangssolicitors.co.uk
07779 055907 | 0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396

Helen Holder
hholder@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396

Fran Murray
fmurray@kangssolicitors.co.uk
020 7936 6396 | 07989 521210

Nazaqat Maqsoom
nmaqsoom@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396