Our crime department were recently contacted by a concerned partner seeking advice on whether her boyfriend had grounds to appeal his sentence.
Her partner was sentenced in 2018 to four years imprisonment for publishing illegal material. He had uploaded this material over a six day period to hundreds of his followers.
Once we were instructed we obtained the key documents that the solicitor needed to advise the client. When considering the material the solicitor advised that the sentence was manifestly excessive. A barrister was selected to join the legal team and detailed grounds of appeal were drafted and the arguments in the case were fully prepared. Due to the time that had elapsed since the sentence was imposed, we had to apply to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal outside the usual 28 day time limit.
The other concern the solicitor had with the case was the client had represented himself at the Magistrates and Crown Court hearings and it was thought that the client’s had not fully presented all mitigating features to the court.
The appeal was heard by the full court after the single judge granted permission to appeal outside the time limit. The full court were persuaded by our arguments and the grounds that we had submitted and reduced the sentence to two years and eight months.
This case highlights the importance of seeking and instructing an experienced firm of solicitors both at the Magistrates and Crown Court. Early advice and representation will reduce the risk of an excessive sentence being imposed in the first place, enable an appeal to be lodged immediately if one is required, avoid the need for permission to appeal out of time and reduce costs and unnecessary distress for the client.
The crime department at Stephensons have a long track record of successful appeals against sentence and conviction. If you do require assistance to appeal against a sentence or conviction please contact the department on 01616 966 229.