Oakes and Others v Regina: CACD 21 Nov 2012

A specially constituted CACD heard sentencing appeals for defendants serving life terms for very grave crimes, and in particular, the judicial assessment of the minimum term to be served by the appellants for the purposes of punishment and retribution before the possibility of their release may be considered. It was argued that a whole life term was inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment.
Held: The appeals failed. The provisions permitting such sentences were not incompatible with the appellant’s human rights so long as the judge when setting the minimum term had satisfied himself that, allowing for all aggravating and mitigating factors, the element of just punishment and retribution required the imposition of a whole life order.
Judge LCJ said: ‘Every civilised country embraces the principle encapsulated in Article 3 . . Simultaneously, however, every civilised country also embraces the principle that just punishment is appropriate for those convicted of criminal offences. These issues relating to just and proportionate punishment are the subject of rational debate and civilised disagreement. The assessment of what should be deemed to constitute just punishment or inhuman or degrading punishment in a particular circumstance can legitimately produce different answers in different countries, and indeed different answers at different times in the same country. All these are at least in part a consequence of the history of each country. The question whether the whole life order constitutes a breach of Article 3 of the Convention, or indeed of the long established common law principle that the sentence should be proportionate in all the relevant circumstances of the offence and the criminal who has committed it, has been well debated.’

Judge LCJ, Hallett LJ QBD VP, Hughes LJ CACD VP, Leveson LJ, Rafferty LJ
[2012] EWCA Crim 2435, [2012] WLR(D) 338, [2013] HRLR 9, [2013] 2 All ER 30, [2013] Crim LR 252, [2013] 3 WLR 137, [2013] 2 Cr App R (S) 22, [2013] 1 QB 979
Bailii, WLRD
Criminal Justice Act 2003, Human Rights Act 1998 3, European Convention on Human Rights 83
England and Wales
CitedWellington, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department Admn 18-May-2007
In extradition proceedings the accused has no right to disclosure of evidence to the same extent and of the same kind which would be available in domestic proceedings.
Laws LJ said that a prison sentence without chance for parole might . .
CitedVinter, Bamber And Moore v The United Kingdom ECHR 17-Jan-2012
The prisoners appealed saying that the whole life terms set on the imposition of a life sentence for murder were a breach of their human rights.
Held: The continued detention of three defendants who had been made subject to a whole life tariff . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for Home Department ex parte Hindley Admn 18-Dec-1997
The Home Secretary has the power to fix the tariff sentence for a lifer at her whole life where that was needed in order to satisfy the requirements of retribution and of deterrence.
Lord Bingham of Cornhill CJ said: ‘I can see no reason, in . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department, Ex Parte Hindley HL 30-Mar-2000
The prisoner, sentenced to life imprisonment with a whole life tariff for the murders of children, now appealed against the imposition of the whole life tarriff.
Held: The appeal failed. It was possible for a Home Secretary to set a whole life . .
CitedBieber (Aka Coleman) v Regina CACD 23-Jul-2008
The Court considered whether a whole life sentence under section 269(4) of the 2003 Act was compatible with Article 3. The defendant had been convicted of murdering a policeman and of attempted murder of two others.
Held: The whole life . .
CitedWellington Regina, (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 10-Dec-2008
It was sought to extradite the defendant to face trial for two alleged murders. He now challenged the order for his extradition saying that his treatment in Missouri would amount to inhuman or degrading punishment in that if convicted he would face . .
CitedBabar Ahmad And Aswat v United Kingdom ECHR 10-Apr-2012
The applicants said that if extradited to the USA to face charges related to terrorism, they would risk facing either imprisonment by Presidential decree, or full life terms.
Held: Detention conditions and length of sentences of five alleged . .
CitedHarkins And Edwards v The United Kingdom ECHR 17-Jan-2012
Each defendant objected to their proposed extradition to the US, saying that if extradited and convicted they would face the possibility of a death sentence or of a life sentence without the possibility of parole, each being incompatible with . .
CitedBoness v Regina; Regina v Bebbington etc CACD 19-Aug-2005
Each defendant had commited a substantive offence, and when sentenced, his sentence hd been accompanied by an anti-social behaviour order. In some cases orders had been made in a form similar to football banning orders, but such orders were not . .
CitedHeight and Anderson, Regina v CACD 29-Oct-2008
The appellants had been convicted of a murder. They appealed against the minumum sentences as set, saying that the application of the 2003 Act produced an unfair result. The murder was of the wife of the second defendant who paid the first to . .

Cited by:
CitedVinter And Others v The United Kingdom ECHR 9-Jul-2013
(Grand Chamber) The three appellants had each been convicted of exceptionally serious murders, and been sentenced to mandatory life sentences, but with provision that they could not be eligible for early release, making them whole life terms. They . .
CitedVinter And Others v The United Kingdom ECHR 9-Jul-2013
(Grand Chamber) The appellants had each been convicted of more than one murder and had been sentenced to to whole life terms. They complained that the absence of a possibility of review or remission
The applicants had each been convicted of . .
CitedRegina v McLoughlin; Regina v Newell CACD 18-Feb-2014
In each case the appellant had been convicted of particularly serious murders and had been given whole liife terms. They now appealed saying that such sentences were incompatible with their human rights after the ruling of the ECHR Grand Chamber in . .
CitedClifford, Regina v CACD 7-Nov-2014
The defendant appealed against his sentence to eight years imprisonment on 8 counts of indecent assault. The offences occurred between 1977 and 1984.
Held: Each of the victims was young and vulnerable and the assaults had had continuing . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Sentencing, Human Rights

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.465945