Crown Court sentencing mistakes

In R. v Kent 77 Cr.App.R 120, the Court of Appeal gave the following examples of the Crown Court passing illegal sentences:

(a) ordering consecutive periods of disqualification.

(b) disqualifying and ordering penalty points to be endorsed.

(c) endorsing the incorrect number of penalty points.

(d) disqualifying for repeated offences without allocating the disqualification to a single offence.

(e) endorsing penalty points for multiple offences committed on the same occasion.

(f) failing to disqualify a 'totter' where there were no mitigating circumstances.

(g) failing to state special reasons or mitigating circumstances when not ordering disqualification or endorsement.

Comment

Kent is an old case and dealt with the Road Traffic Act 1972 - which has since been repealed. However, the Road Traffic Act 1988 is very similar to the 1972 Act, and many of its provisions are near identical. I often read newspaper reports of Crown Court judges disqualifying a driver and also endorsing the offender's licence; see (b) above. Advocates should be aware of the common sentencing mistakes listed above and correct the sentencing judge if necessary. If the mistake is realised soon afterwards then the 'slip rule' is preferable to an appeal hearing - where counsel may have to explain his silence at the sentencing hearing!

References

Archbold at 32-233 in the 2015 Edition.

R. v Usaceva [2015] EWCA Crim 166.