Whilst there are reasonably clear principles that apply when a court is sentencing anyone under the age of eighteen years, sentencing after a convicted individual has reached that age is not always so straight forward.
Nazaqat Maqsoom of Kangs Solicitors comments on the sentencing of young adults who have reached the age of eighteen.
Sentencing Guidelines | Young Adults | Kangs Criminal Defence Solicitors
- Overarching principles govern the sentencing of those under the age of eighteen years.
- When sentencing a defendant who has turned that age, such principles no longer apply and the courts can be restricted in their approach.
Helpful Case Law | Kangs Sentencing Advisory Team
Whilst passing Judgement in 2018, Lord Chief Justice Burnett in R v Clarke EWCA Crim 185 observed:
“Reaching the age of 18 has many legal consequences, but it does not present a cliff edge for the purposes of sentencing. So much has long been clear… Full maturity and all the attributes of adulthood are not magically conferred on young people on their 18th birthdays. Experience of life reflected in scientific research (e.g. The Age of Adolescence: thelancet.com/child-adolescent; 17 January 2018) is that young people continue to mature, albeit at different rates, for some time beyond their 18th birthdays. The youth and maturity of an offender will be factors that inform any sentencing decision, even if an offender has passed his or her 18th birthday.”
The ruling in R v Eniola Balgun  EWCA Crim 2933 was supportive when the Court of Appeal reduced the sentence imposed on an eighteen year old acknowledging that insufficient weight had been given to the defendant’s youth, immaturity and lack of appreciation of the seriousness of the offending and the harm that it caused.
It was stated:
“the fact that the appellant had attained the age of 18 before he committed the offences does not of itself mean that the factors relevant to the sentencing of a young offender had necessarily ceased to have any relevance. He had not been invested overnight with all the understanding and self-control of a fully mature adult.”
How Can We Assist? | Kangs National Criminal Defence Team
If faced with any sentencing situation of the nature outlined above, it is crucial that your legal team is experienced in matters involving young adults.
Our team of solicitors regularly defends and assists young adults and has extensive experience dealing with all matters affecting young adults.
If we can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our team through any of the following: