The AG argued that the sentences imposed for conspiracy to possess and distribute prohibited firearms and ammunition, and conspiracy to convert into firearms. They had been produced to sell to drugs dealers to pay of drugs debts. The Crown argued that an effective minimum sentence of five years applied.
Held: It was not unusual to find a disparity between the seriousness of an offence and a defendant with little previous criminal experience. No minimum applied: ‘If section 51A had been intended to apply to offences of attempt, which effectively this was, or conspiracy then that could easily have been done and it has not been. On the other hand, we have no doubt whatever, just as the court in Wilkinson had no doubt whatever, that the Parliamentary indication of public concern, which is reflected in section 51A, has a considerable impact on sentences which need to be imposed for cases of this kind.’ While the sentences of 30 and 25 months were lenient, they were no so lenient as to allow the Appeal court to intervene.
Hughes LJ VP, Owen, Thirlwall JJ
 EWCA Crim 2521
Firearms Act 1968 4(3) 5(1) 51A
England and Wales
Cited – Wilkinson and Others, Regina v, Attorney-General’s Reference No 43 of 2009 CACD 6-Oct-2009
The court examined the provisions distinguishing between sentences of imprisonment for life and imprisonment for public protection (IPP) in cases involving very serious gun and drugs crimes.
Held: The Avis case guidelines remained valuable, . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 02 March 2021; Ref: scu.426484