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Court of Appeal finds that a sentence of four years’ imprisonment, entirely suspended, for an offence of sexual assault of a minor was unduly lenient in the sense of being a significant departure from the norm, and notwithstanding the substantial mitigation that was available to the respondent, a custodial sentence was required; and the court re-sentences the respondent to four years’ imprisonment with two years suspended.
Criminal law – sentencing – undue leniency - sexual assault - charge of causing a child to watch sexual activity - sentenced to 4 years’ imprisonment on one count relating to the sexual assault charge - which custodial sentence was suspended in its entirety for a period of 4 years, subject to certain probation conditions, namely, to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for the length of his probation period, to engage with Probation Services and comply with all their instructions, and to engage with addiction services – factual backgrounds – investigation – personal circumstances - psychological reports - victim impact statement - plea in mitigation - sentencing remarks - notice of application for review of sentence - legal principles to be applied in determining an undue leniency application - applicant must establish that the sentence imposed by the court below represented a substantial departure from the norm – clear error of principle - satisfied that the sentence imposed at first instance was unduly lenient in the sense of being a significant departure from the norm - maximum penalty for the sexual assault of a child is 14 years imprisonment and the range of potential penalties from within which an offender may be sentenced runs from non-custodial disposals up to 14 years imprisonment - reasons for imposing a wholly suspended sentence - notwithstanding the substantial mitigation that was available to the respondent, a custodial sentence was required - sentence that represented a substantial departure from the norm - re-sentencing – 4 years imprisonment with two suspended –
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