News Criminal Defence 31st Jul 2018

Suspended Sentence for Perverting the Course of Justice

Joshua Carey represented a Defendant who was accused of, and pleaded guilty to, perverting the course of justice.

A car belonging to the Defendant’s partner was identified travelling in excess of the speed limit on the way to the airport. A s172 Notice requiring the identity of the driver to be provided was sent to his partner and which was ignored. The police sent a reminder letter at which point the Defendant asked his partner to sign the blank form and he completed it with details of a fictitious person who was said to live in Spain. The police investigated and tried to locate the person said to reside in Spain. Having had no success the Defendant’s partner was invited to a voluntary interview by the police. The Defendant attended with her, and ultimately on a subsequent date, attended his own voluntary interview where he admitted completing the s172 Notice with incorrect information.

The Prosecutor reminded the Crown Court that whilst there are no guidelines the Court of Appeal has made it clear that offences of perverting the course of justice should be met with immediate sentences of imprisonment.

In passing sentence on the Defendant the learned Judge observed that this offence is often committed by people of good character or who have extremely limited involvement with the criminal justice system. He noted that the Court of Appeal had said Crown Court judges were entirely justified in imposing immediate custodial sentences. However, the Judge noted that the Defendant had “come to his senses” and admitted the offence at a very early stage by way of a voluntary interview in which he was extremely candid. The Judge observed that the Defendant was a man that people spoke very highly of and that an immediate sentence of imprisonment would put his future and the future of his family including his 7-year old daughter at risk.

On balance the Judge took the view that the imposition of a suspended sentence with an unpaid work requirement was appropriate in the circumstances of this case.

Joshua was instructed by Peter Hughman of Hughmans Solicitors.

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