Life sentence avoided for serious offender

27.02.18 | |

Abigail Bright recently appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on behalf of a client who pleaded guilty during a trial, after the complainant had given evidence, on an indictment of rape, sexual assault, and threatening with an offensive weapon (using a knife).  At the time of conviction the judge observed that, given the seriousness of the offending and the particular circumstances of the case, she was giving consideration to passing a life sentence.  A psychiatric report was commissioned.


Notwithstanding this indication, Abigail persuaded the Judge that the Court should, wholly exceptionally, commission a second forensic psychiatric report to look in particular at the issue of insight, as well as the defendant’s ability to respond to treatment by specialist mental health services on the prison estate.  Although the defendant’s offending was at the very serious end of the spectrum of criminal behaviour, the Judge was persuaded by Abigail, as well as the results of the second psychiatric report she persuaded her to commission, that the risk to the public presented by the defendant could be met by the passing of an extended sentence.  The passing of a life sentence was, the Judge concluded, not required notwithstanding her earlier indication at the time of conviction.


Abigail was instructed by Andy Malik of DJMS Solicitors, Newcastle, assisted by Nicole Wright.

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