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Attorney-General’s Reference (No 80 of 2005) sub nom R v Adam Wedlock-Ward (2005)

A suspended sentence of two years' custody following a late guilty plea to wounding with intent was unduly lenient given the aggravating features that there had been no provocation, the defendant had lain in wait for his victim and had four previous convictions including one for unlawful wounding. Whatever the personal views of a judge, it was not for him to disregard the judgments of the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) or the advice of the Sentencing Guidelines Council in deciding the appropriate reduction in sentence for a late guilty plea.

25 November 2005

The Attorney-General referred as unduly lenient a suspended sentence of two years' imprisonment imposed on the defendant (W) following his guilty plea to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. W had attacked the new partner (V) of his former wife with a large torch and a knife after lying in wait for him. The attack had been prolonged as W had pursued his victim during the course of it. V suffered severe lacerations and required surgery under general anaesthetic. The consequences of his injuries made it difficult for him to work in his profession as a dancer. The judge, sitting in chambers and without any request from the defence, gave indications of a non-custodial sentence on the basis of a guilty plea and a long term sentence in the event that there was a trial. He sought to find reasons to properly characterise W's case as comprising exceptional circumstances justifying the sentence he subsequently imposed. The judge referred to his own attitude towards W's guilty plea...

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