Ralphs, Regina v: CACD 3 Dec 2009

The Attorney-General appealed against a sentence of six years imposed for several prohibited firearms possession offences. The defendant was looking after items which he understood to be illegal, but whose exact nature he did not know. He had been sentenced as a ‘minder’, not an armourer.
Held: The sentence was unduly lenient, and was increased to 8 years. The court decried the complexity of the sentencing provisions and said: ‘the effect of statute in the vast majority of cases of possession of a firearm and ammunition is that the range of sentence available to the judge is very limited. Subject to possible consecutive sentences (which we shall address shortly) the range is between 5 years and 10 years’ imprisonment, and in the event of a guilty plea to an appropriately reduced discount from the maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment. This leaves remarkably little room for case-specific flexibility. The question for decision is whether the restriction on the range of sentences can properly be circumvented in situations like this, where the offender was found in possession of more than one gun, or, and no less important, a combination of guns and appropriate ammunition for use with them which came in to his possession on a single occasion and which were kept hidden and were found in the same hiding place, by an order for consecutive sentences.’
As to consecutive sentences: ‘Two long-standing general principles are engaged. The first principle is totality. The aggregate of the sentences must be appropriate to the offender’s criminality in the context of the available mitigation. Second, consecutive terms should not normally be imposed for offences which arise out of the same incident or transaction.’
[2010] 2 Cr App Rep (S) 30, [2010] Crim LR 318, [2009] EWCA Crim 2555
Firearms Act 1968 5(1)(a)
England and Wales
CitedRegina v Jordan and others CACD 2005
A minimum sentence imposed by statute is not to be subject to any discount for a guilty plea. . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 23 March 2021; Ref: scu.381737