Clea Topolski successfully challenges sentence in Court of Appeal.

29 January 2021

Clea Topolski, instructed by Simon Hancock of Mitchell’s solicitors, has succeeded in obtaining a reduction of their lay client’s sentence at the Court of Appeal.

Clea showed that the sentence of three years for the offence of escape was manifestly excessive. She relied on principles contained in the case of R v Baverstock [2013] EWCA crim 1502.

In Baverstock, the Court of Appeal held that certain questions (focusing on the factual matrix of an offence) are useful guidance in establishing where on the scale a sentence should fall. Factors such as how long a defendant was at large, how planned the escape was, and whether the escape was from prison or police custody, are some of the questions that the Court of Appeal held should be considered by any sentencing tribunal.

Clea established that, despite taking the sentencing Judge to the authority during the sentencing exercise, the Judge failed to take into account these guiding principles. In fact, in his sentencing remarks he stated that the authority was without use at all. Ms Topolski argued that this was the wrong approach, which resulted in a sentence that was manifestly excessive. The Court of Appeal agreed with her.

The overall sentence was reduced by 9 months as a result. 

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