Sophia Dower’s renewed application for leave and substantive appeal granted by Court of Appeal Criminal Division
On 15th March 2023, Sophia Dower appeared before the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) to renew her application for leave to appeal sentence, having been refused permission to appeal by the Single Judge. The appeal focussed on a narrow ground, namely that the 24-month operational period of the Appellant’s suspended sentence order for Dangerous Driving was disproportionate to the 21-week term of imprisonment under the order and was therefore manifestly excessive.
The Single Judge refused to grant leave on the basis that the Appellant had shown very little insight into his behaviour and consequently posed an on-going danger. In his view, although the Sentencing Guidelines suggested a shorter operational period for a custodial term of this length, that was not an inviolable rule and due to the Appellant’s on-going risk, the Sentencing Judge was entitled to impose a lengthy operational term.
Sophia renewed the application for leave to appeal which was granted, together with the substantive appeal before the Full Court. She relied on 6 reasons why the operational period was manifestly excessive including the Appellant’s lack of previous convictions, the fact the pre-sentence report recommended an order of only 12 months duration and the availability of rehabilitation activity days to minimise any on-going risk. Her oral submissions were described by Lady Justice Carr as “extremely helpful” and when giving judgement for the Court, complemented as both “focussed and direct”, such that the Court were persuaded to grant leave to appeal, and also to allow the appeal.
Case reported:  EWCA Crim 408,  3 WLUK 654,  2 Cr. App. R. (S.) 30