Sunday 26 August 2018

Inside the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)

On 21 August, the Judiciary published the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) Annual Report 2016-17.  In the Preface to the report, the Lord Chief Justice notes that the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) is "there to ensure that so far as humanly possible convictions which are unsafe are set aside, and sentences which are either manifestly excessive or unduly lenient are corrected.  Convictions which are safe and sentences which are appropriate must be upheld. That simple summary of the objective of the Court reveals its importance, and the high level of responsibility which all who work in the Court, whether in the office or in the Court itself, must carry."

"Inside the Court of Appeal" was a documentary
broadcast on 23 August by ITV - it may be viewed until mid-September via this link.  This unique documentary examined in detail three harrowing and emotional cases that were heard by the appeals court :-

A)  The 2013 murder in Liverpool of Sean McHugh.   Sean was murdered by four young boys: Andrew Hewitt, Corey Hewitt, Joseph McGill, and Keyfer Dykstra - Liverpoool Echo 23 August 2018.  "Inside the Court of Appeal" focused on the appeal by Joseph McGill.  The appeal was dismissed.

The Court of Appeal's judgment is reported at R v Grant-Murray and Henry [2017] EWCA Crim 1228 - Lord Thomas CJ, Hallett LJ and Goss J.  The Lord Chief Justice commenced by saying - "These two renewed applications for leave to appeal, (1) R v Grant-Murray and Henry and (2) R v McGill, Corey Hewitt and Andrew Hewitt, were heard together as the grounds raised related to the decision of the Supreme Court in R v Jogee [2016] UKSC 8. In addition, the second application raised issues relating to the trial of young defendants in the Crown Court."

B)  Darren Jarvis who was convicted in 2013 of causing the deaths by dangerous driving of two people. Walesonline 7 December 2017 reported that "A motorist who caused a horrific crash which killed his best friend and another driver has failed in a bid to clear his name. Darren Stephen Jarvis lost control of his sports car while driving at 71mph on the Aberdare bypass with his friend, Lee Williams inside.  The turbo-charged Nissan Skyline then ploughed into a people carrier driven by Jacek Stawski, 38, from Penrhiwceiber.  Jarvis, 46 was jailed for four years at Cardiff Crown Court in November 2013 after being found guilty of two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

The Court of Appeal was asked to consider a claim by Jarvis that he had suffered a fit when driving and that he ought not to have been convicted.  Jarvis' claim was supported by an expert report into the event but there was also contrary Police evidence.  The Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal.

The Sentencing Remarks of Stewart J in Jarvis' case are available via the Judiciary website.

C)  The third case was Joshua Dobby who pleaded guilty to manslaughter having run over and killed a child (Makayah McDermott, aged 10) and his aunt (Rozanne Cooper, aged 34) during a police pursuit - see BBC News 2 February 2017.   The victims' family wrote to the Prime Minister about Dobby's 12 year sentence and the outcome was that the Attorney-General challenged the sentence on grounds of undue leniency - Criminal Justice Act 1988 s.36 - see this previous post.  Much to the disgust of the family, the Court of Appeal did not find the sentence to have been unduly lenient.

The court's judgment is at R v Joshua Mark Dobby [2017] EWCA Crim 775 - Davis LJ, King and Andrews JJ.

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