Caines, Regina v, Regina v Roberts: CACD 23 Nov 2006

The prisoners appealed the review of the recommended minimum terms they must serve on that term being reviewed by the court, saying that the court should have made allowance for the exceptional progress to rehabilitation made in prison.
Held: If the evidence is in essence fresh information about the offender, a court will normally not require the conditions and formalities of the governing statutory provision. The court could properly make such an allowance: ‘the decision consequent on an application under Schedule 22 was a sentencing decision to which normal sentencing principles applied.’ The appeal of Caines succeeded, but leave was refused to Roberts. Both prosecution and defence counsel had a duty to prepare and be ready to assist the court in the interpretation of the applicable statutory provisions for sentencing. It was ‘at the very least permissible’ to make a reduction to the tariff to reflect exceptional behaviour and the reduction should be made at the end of the process so as to ensure that it resulted in ‘real benefit’ to the prisoner.
Judge J P said: ‘Good behaviour is not enough to constitute exceptional progress. We agree that the standard should be very high: the progress must be exceptional, outstanding, and bearing in mind that it provides the basis for a reduction in a period fixed for the purposes of punishment and deterrence, so it should be. Even where the necessary high standard is reached, the impact on the total tariff period is likely to be very modest. The longest reduction so far has not exceeded two years, and in the significant majority of cases where exceptional progress has been established, the reduction has been for one year. It also appears, and logically it is plain, that such progress falls to be considered when the minimum period is coming towards its end. Finally, it is a prerequisite to any reduction that the risk assessment should be favourable.’
. . And: ‘From time to time, the court will be provided with updated information about the offender. This sometimes takes the form of prison reports, sometimes confidential information from the police. The sources vary. The information may serve to show, for example, that the prisoner has provided considerable assistance to the police; sometimes aspects of the mitigation are significantly underlined in a way which may not have been as clear or emphatic in the Crown Court; sometimes the information may indicate that the offender has made significant progress since the sentence began, a feature particularly relevant in cases involving young offenders. The formal procedures for the admission of fresh evidence are not followed. This court simply considers the evidence before it. So, for example, if a young offender has responded positively to his custodial sentence, and his progress is such that it may be counter-productive for him to serve the sentence actually imposed, it may be reduced on appeal, or changed to a non-custodial disposal, without any implied criticism of the decision of the Crown Court. In short, post-sentence information may impact on and produce a reduction in sentence (for a recent example of post-sentence evidence bearing on and explaining aspects of mitigation, with a consequent reduction in the minimum term following conviction for murder, see R v Sampson [2006] EWCA Crim 2669 ).’
Sir Igor Judge, President, Mr Justice Holland and Mr Justice Goldring
[2006] EWCA Crim 2915, Times 07-Dec-2006, [2007] 2 All ER 584, [2007] 1 WLR 1109
Criminal Justice Act 2003 Sch 22
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedBarker, Regina v CACD 24-Oct-2008
The defendant appealed against the minimum term imposed on her under the 2003 Act. She argued that the court should have made allowance for the fact that she had made exceptional progress since arriving in prison.
Held: Caines established that . .
CitedBamber, Regina v CACD 14-May-2009
The defendant had been convicted in 1986 of the murder of five members of his adoptive family. The judge had initially recommended a minimum term of 25 years. A later judge had suggested a whole life term. The convictions had been upheld in 2002. . .
CitedRegina v Coonan (Formerly Sutcliffe) QBD 16-Jul-2010
The respondent had been convicted of thirteen murders and eight attempted murders. He had claimed to have been acting in response to a divine voice heard when he worked in a graveyard. He was diagnosed a paranoid schizophrenic. The murders had . .
CitedRogers, Regina v CACD 1-Jul-2016
The court was asked as to as to the circumstances in which s.23 of the 1968 Act applies to fresh evidence or other information which an appellant may seek to adduce before this court on an appeal against sentence.
Held: The rules applicable to . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 31 January 2021; Ref: scu.246371