The Sentencing hearings

This section was setup in August 2018 in order to move the existing related discussions from other sections into this new section to group them together, and separate from the other CH-related topics.

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richardb
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The Sentencing hearings

Post by richardb »

I have received a number of messages asking about the Sentencing hearings so I thought it might help if I set out the position for everyone.

1. The guilty verdicts
These can either be by confession (guilty Plea) or conviction by the jury. The difference is that a guilty Plea will result in a reduction in sentence of up to 33% while there is no reduction in sentence where the Defendant goes to trial and is convicted

2. The defendant's status pending sentence
Where a Defendant is facing an extremely long sentence, most judges take the view that he may as well start serving it straight away, particularly if convicted by the jury. It removes the temptation to try to evade justice by disappearing.
Karim, Husband and Dobbie have all been remanded in custody and are likely to be held in Lewes prison which I believe is the local remand prison.

3. Probation reports
In many cases the Court will ask for a probation report. These are particularly important with sexual offences as the court has to consider whether the Defendant is a "dangerous offender" in accordance with Chapter 5 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.
A non dangerous offender will be entitled to be released after serving had the sentence, whereas a dangerous offender cannot be released until he has served two thirds of the sentence and only then if the Parole Board says he is safe to be released - this was the position with the taxi rapist John Worboys.
The probation assessment will use diagnostic criteria to determine whether an offender is Dangerous. Dangerous means that the offender poses a serious risk of causing serious harm to the public (or a section of it) by committing further offences.
A dangerous offender will be sentence to an extended sentence under which: (i) release is not until the two thirds point at the earliest; and (ii) there is extended supervision by the probation service post release.
Burr received an extended sentence which means that even in his mid 70s he is assessed as a serious risk of committing offences against teenage boys.
I am surprised that Husband is being sentenced without a probation report, although the judge may have thought that as his offences were more than 20 years ago and involved a single victim, he does not pose a significant risk of reoffending.
A report has been ordered in the case of Dobbie and I would not be surprised if he gets an extended sentence, given that he had multiple victims and wax active over a substantial period of time.
So, by way of example, if Husband got a 16 year standard determinate sentence, he would be out after 8 years. But if Dobbie got an extended sentence of 12 years, he would not be entitled to apply to be released until after 8 years and could serve longer than Husband if the Parole Board was against him.

4. The procedure at the hearing
The Defendant is identified and the prosecution then outlines the facts of the offence and the defendant's antecedents.
Before the sentence hearing the police should have obtained Victim Impact Statements from all the victims. We have a flavour of what it will say in Husband's case.
The prosecution will also have the opportunity to make submissions as to where the offending falls on the Sentencing Guidelines (see below).
The defence will then have the opportunity to make any points in mitigation of the defendant's position and also argue the categorisation of the offences under the Sentencing Guidelines.
I would expect Husband's brief to produce character references about his good work at Pickering Town Council and the Rotary Club but in reality these will count for little, if anything.

5. The sentence
The judge is required to have regard to the Sentencing Guidelines relevant to the offence and most imprisonable offences now have guidelines.
The idea is to standardise sentence so that the same set of facts will be sentenced the same at one end of the country as they will at the other.
You can download the guidelines for sexual offences here and then locate the specific guideline for raoe:

https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/pu ... l-offences

You will see that the judge is required to assess two factors: culpability and harm. Given the extreme effects upon the victim's health (which we have had the opportunity to read) and the very gross abuse of trust by a teacher in loco parentis, I think the judge should find this to be a category 1A offence.

A category 1A offence has a starting point of 15 years imprisonment with a range of 13-19 years.

So for the rape offence Husband is looking at 15 years which will then he adjusted upwards to take into account the indecent assault offences.

I would expect a total sentence for Husband of around 18 years imprisonment. Anything less and the Attorney General can be asked to refer it to the Court of Appeal so that consideration can be given to the question of whether it was unduly lenient.

6. Ancillary orders

As well as the prison sentence, the Court is likely to make Sexual Harm Prevention Orders which will severely restrict their ability to come into contact with children, breach of which will be punishable by imprisonment.
They will be told that their names will be forwarded to the Disclosure and Barring Service with a view to them being prevented from working with children.
Finally they will be reminded that they will be on the mythical Sex Offenders Register (the noncey boy register) for life. The registration requirement are seriously oppressive.

7. Serving the sentence
They are all likely to start their sentences in Lewes prison where they will stay while arrangements are made for their transfer. I have no idea where they will be transferred to, although I believe that somewhere there is a prison specifically for older sex offenders.

8. Release
Release will either be at the halfway point for a standard determinate sentence or not earlier than two thirds for an extended sentence. There is then post release licence until the end of their sentences which is the day upon which they would have been released if they had served the full prison sentence. Any breach of licence leaves them at risk of immediate recall to prison for the remainder of the licence period.

I hope this helps. I will have a look at the likely sentences for Karim and Dobbie nearer the time.

Any queries, don't hesitate to PM me.
yamaha
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Re: The Sentencing hearings

Post by yamaha »

Thanks Richard, very helpful.
According to the police report Dobbie and Webb were resident in France. If he is released after 8 years Dobbie will be 75. Will the authorities in France, Albi in particular, be informed of his crimes and warned of his release?
richardb
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Re: The Sentencing hearings

Post by richardb »

I believe they will be told.

He is a British national and I am not sure as part of being on the Sex Offenders Register that they will allow him to live abroad. A person on the register is required to tell police if they stay at an address for more than (i think) 3 days and they will usually check out the accommodation. Tends to put people off.
Jim Rayner
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Re: The Sentencing hearings

Post by Jim Rayner »

yamaha wrote: Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:45 am Thanks Richard, very helpful.
According to the police report Dobbie and Webb were resident in France. If he is released after 8 years Dobbie will be 75. Will the authorities in France, Albi in particular, be informed of his crimes and warned of his release?
I seem to remember there was talk in parliament - or maybe I read it on the side of a bus - about restricting the free movement of people around Europe.
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richardb
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Re: The Sentencing hearings

Post by richardb »

It might be the devil in me but it would be a typically CH response to let him go abroad and move the problem on 😂
sejintenej
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Re: The Sentencing hearings

Post by sejintenej »

I beleive that there is a clause in the EU treaties (etc) whereby a country can stop or limit the entry of a national of another EU country where they consider that that person could be a serious danger. In any event he wil be in prison long after we leave the EU and would need a visa (whether a stamp in his passport or a formal document) to enter France.
I don't know the rules between France and Norway about entry and residence but the father of the Norwegian mass killer Brevik had to leave his Limoux home when his son was found guilty. You can bet that the mayor of Albi will not issue a residence permit to such a convicted criminal.
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Bishbashbosh
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Re: The Sentencing hearings

Post by Bishbashbosh »

Husband is listed as sentencing from 10am tomorrow.
richardb
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Re: The Sentencing hearings

Post by richardb »

The court list actually says 10.30.
DeletedAccount

Re: The Sentencing hearings

Post by DeletedAccount »

Thank you for the updates.

Are sentencing hearings relatively quick events or is there potential for (1) further discussion; and/or (2) a lot of explanation?

Can one predict how long tomorrow's hearing might last?

And Richard - you gave your views on likely sentences. Are there often surprises/wide margins or most often, are sentences fairly predictable?

Thanks

Dick
richardb
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Re: The Sentencing hearings

Post by richardb »

Tomorrow will take around 30 mins.

The prosecution outlines the facts of the offences, the antecedents and ancillary orders asked for - perhaps 15 minutes.

The defence will say something - 10 minutes.

Judges sentencing remarks - 5 minutes.

Tomorrow will be shorter as the judge has already heard the evidence during the trial so no need for full details.

Now that there are sentencing guidelines, there are no large discrepancies in sentences. They fall within a reasonably narrow compass.
DeletedAccount

Re: The Sentencing hearings

Post by DeletedAccount »

richardb wrote: Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:07 pm Tomorrow will take around 30 mins.

The prosecution outlines the facts of the offences, the antecedents and ancillary orders asked for - perhaps 15 minutes.

The defence will say something - 10 minutes.

Judges sentencing remarks - 5 minutes.

Tomorrow will be shorter as the judge has already heard the evidence during the trial so no need for full details.

Now that there are sentencing guidelines, there are no large discrepancies in sentences. They fall within a reasonably narrow compass.
Perfect answer. Many thanks!
Wuppertal
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Re: The Sentencing hearings

Post by Wuppertal »

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LHA
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Re: The Sentencing hearings

Post by LHA »

Dobbie won't be going to France (and will hopefully never be able to leave the country again). This isn't to do with French immigration law, or Brexit or anything, but to do with him being a Registered Sex Offender. He will need authorisation from his supervising Probation Office and Police Officer who will supervise him (and Husband etc) upon release, including unannounced visits to their homes etc. IF they change address they will have to re-register with the Police and will commit a criminal offence if they don't . I can't really think of any circumstances in which a prolific offender with Dobbie's profile would be authorised to leave the UK , so hopefully that's that even when he comes out of jail an old man.
yamaha
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Re: The Sentencing hearings

Post by yamaha »

Hi Richard, they are holding off sentencing Dobbie while more crimes are accumulated(?) but has he not already maxed out the sentence limits?

Is this an exercise to have additional crimes taken into consideration and give more victims some degree of judicial closure, or is he listing crimes so that he doesn't get charged and sentenced to additional terms like Webb?
richardb
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Re: The Sentencing hearings

Post by richardb »

It is an established principle of sentencing that a person should - as far as possible - be sentenced for all matters at once.

I am surprised that the judge has delayed sentencing pending a whole investigation but it suggests to me (and I might be wrong) that these new complaints are of fundamental importance - perhaps such as him doing the same thing at Shrewsbury.

We should beware of too much speculation.
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