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Goldsmith v Goldsmith

A sentence of 12 months’ imprisonment for contempt of court following several serious breaches of a non-molestation order was excessive and, while a suspended sentence was inappropriate, a sentence of eight months’ imprisonment reflected the seriousness of the offences.

10 November 2006

The appellant (G) appealed against a sentence of 12 months’ imprisonment for contempt of court. Following the dissolution of G’s marriage to the respondent (W), G was convicted of threatening to kill W. W obtained a non-molestation order to protect herself and the two children of the marriage. On several occasions G breached the order by making threats to W and her family, damaging property belonging to W’s family, sending threatening messages and encouraging his new wife to become involved in an altercation with W. When sentencing, the judge treated the breaches as serious and imposed consecutive sentences of three months’ imprisonment for each of the four serious breaches. G argued that the sentence of 12 months’ imprisonment was excessive and the judge ought to have imposed a suspended sentence.

HELD: Appeal allowed

In the circumstances of the case, the judge was entitled to impose an immediate custodial sentence given all four breaches were different in qua...

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