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Sentence for Ancient Sexual Offences Reduced

Regina v DJP [2014] EWCA 2362 is an interesting judgment of the Court of Appeal who were considering an appeal against conviction and sentence in connection with a number of offences under the old Sexual Offences Act 1956. The defendant had been convicted of a number of offences of rape, attempted rape and indecent assault dating back to the 1980s when he was a teenager. However, he was also convicted (on the same indictment) of an offence of sexual assault under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 committed in 2011. The total sentence of imprisonment (made up of various concurrent and consecutive terms) was one of nineteen years imprisonment. Interestingly, the appeal against conviction arose because the defendant was convicted of a rape (anal) that could not have been rape under the 1956 Act. The Court decided that it could not substitute an offence of buggery but that it could quash the conviction and substitute an offence of indecent assault which it duly did. The Court went on to consider sentence which it decided was "manifestly excessive and significantly so" having regard to delay and changes in public opinion and judicial approaches to sentencing since the 1980s. It also considered a long period of non-offending and the consensual nature of one of the relationships. The Court concluded that it accepts "counsel's apology for the way in which these matters were overlooked at trial but we cannot help but express some disquiet that this sort of thing can still happen."


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