Attorney General’s Reference (Number 8 of 2004) (Dawson and Others): CANI 15 Apr 2005

Defendants had been convicted of offences involving supply of cannabis and cocaine, including the evasion of import controls and conspiracy. The sentences were appealed as too lenient.
Held: Where a prosecutor was aware that a plea of guilty was being entered because a defendant expected to have a particular sentence passed (in that case a suspended sentence) and the prosecutor remained silent as to the inappropriateness of the proposed sentence, it may more readily be inferred that such silence contributed to the offender’s decision to plead guilty. The court reviewed earlier cases. ‘The effect of these decisions is inescapable. In all but the most exceptional cases those convicted, even on their plea of guilty, of offences of possession of drugs (be they class A or class B drugs) with intent to supply, should receive an immediate custodial sentence.’ These cases were not so exceptional. The attention of the trial judge should have been directed by counsel for the prosecution to the well-known authorities. The failure of the prosecution to inform the judge of those authorities or to make submissions as to their effect precludes the Attorney General from making application under section 36. The omission of counsel cannot be allowed to impede the proper functioning of that provision where justice demands that the sentence be reviewed. The failure to keep a verbatim note of what was said in chambers was to be deprecated.

Carswell LCJ
[2005] NICA 18
Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 4(3)(b)
Northern Ireland
CitedRegina v Aramah CACD 1982
In relation to major cases of importation of Class A drugs, the starting point for consignments exceeding 5 kilos assessed by reference to 100% purity rather than total weight, is a sentence of 14 years and upwards following conviction. In a passage . .
CitedRegina v Hogg and others CANI 1994
The court considered sentences for the importation of drugs: ‘1. Importation of drugs on a large scale is the most serious offence in this area, and is invariably to be visited with a substantial custodial sentence. We respectfully agree with the . .
CitedRegina v McIlwaine CANI 1998
The court dismissed an appeal against a sentence of four years imprisonment for possession of 9.88 kilos of cannabis resin with a street value of andpound;100,000: ‘So we return to the question-was this sentence manifestly excessive? We are . .
CitedAttorney General’s Reference (No 3 of 2003) (Rogan) CANI 2001
The court discussed the need to take notes of meetings in chambers between the judge and counsel. The court set out four principles to be applied: ‘1. There should be freedom of access for counsel to judges, but that does not mean freedom to discuss . .
CitedRegina v Hutton QBNI 1998
MacDermott LJ said: ‘The attitude of the courts in this jurisdiction to the offence of supplying proscribed drugs is well known (see the observation of the Lord Chief Justice in Haveron and a series of subsequent cases). In short the courts in this . .
CitedAttorney General’s Reference (No 3 of 2003) CACD 7-Apr-2004
Police Officers had been acquitted of misconduct in public office. They had stood by in a police station custody suite as a prisoner lay on the floor and died.
Held: The trial took place before R -v- G which had overruled Caldwell. The . .
CitedAttorney General’s reference (No 11 of 2003) CANI 2003
For an offence of possession of approximately 1.5 kilograms of a class A drug, cocaine, with intent to supply, the court increased a sentence of eighteen months to three and a half years. But for the effect of double jeopardy, the sentence would . .
CitedAttorney General’s Reference (No 5 of 2003), Richard Herbert Crowe CANI 29-Sep-2003
Persons convicted of possession of drugs with intent to supply ‘must ordinarily expect a custodial sentence’, although the court did not interfere with the sentence imposed because of the exceptional nature of the case, . .
CitedAttorney-General’s Reference (No 4 of 1989) CACD 1990
The court considered the approach to be taken by an appellate court asked to review a sentence said to be unduly lenient: ‘The first thing to be observed is that it is implicit in the section that this Court may only increase sentences which it . .
CitedAttorney General’s Reference Nos 86 and 87 of 1999 CACD 2001
The Court considered authorities in relation to prosecution appeals against a sentence imposed by the judge where that judge had given an indication of the likely sentence: ‘. . we consider that where an indication is given by a trial judge as to . .
CitedAttorney General for Northern Ireland Reference No 3 of 2000 CANI 28-Jun-2001
The court considered the question of the propriety of section 36 applications (to increase a sentence) where an indication has been given by the judge of the likely sentence. . .
CitedAttorney General’s Reference (No 19 of 2004) (Charlton) CACD 2004
The sentencing judge had indicated in chambers to defence counsel, that he was minded not to impose a custodial sentence if a plea was entered to a mooted charge. Prosecuting counsel was present but did not contribute to the discussion although he . .
CitedAttorney General’s Reference (Nos 8, 9 and 10 of 2002) (Mohammed and others) CACD 2003
The problem of an Attorney General’s Reference against the background of a judicial indication that there might be some non-custodial disposal is one which has troubled this Court on a number of occasions in the past. . .
CitedAttorney General’s Reference No 4 of 1996 (Robinson) CACD 1997
When a judge has given an indication as to sentence, that does not preclude the Attorney General from bringing the matter before the Court of Appeal for it to consider whether or not the sentence was unduly lenient. However the indication given by . .
CitedAttorney General’s Reference No 17 of 1998 (Stokes) CACD 2-Oct-1998
The court considered the propriety of a reference of a sentence where the defendant had been given an indication of a likely sentence: ‘if it were the position that a legitimate expectation of a lenient sentence prior to a plea of guilty, was a . .

Cited by:
CitedRooney and Others, Re Attorney General’s Reference (Number 1 of 2005) CANI 11-Nov-2005
The defendants had been convicted or armed robbery. The Attorney General appealed against the sentences saying they were too lenient. Rooney argued that his plea of guilty had been after an indication by the judge and the reference was misguided. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Sentencing

Updated: 06 January 2022; Ref: scu.224132