Nottingham based in-house counsel Steve Gosnell and senior Crown Court litigator Sarah Lees-Collier worked together to ensure a constructive sentence was imposed on a vulnerable client at Nottingham Crown Court.
Their client was initially to be sentenced for two allegations of sexual activity with a child. He was 19 at the time of the allegations, but the victim was only 13.
Our client had learning difficulties and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and in the past had problems with alcohol and drug use. This combination of factors had led to previous incidents of self-harm.
Steve’s client maintained that they were in a consensual relationship. He accepted advice that this believe did not provide him with a defence and guilty pleas were entered at an early stage of proceedings.
In the meantime our client was charged with an allegation of Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm (ABH). This was a serious joint attack on an immigrant. The incident was captured on CCTV. This showed our client kicking the victim and putting him headlock whilst on ground as part of a sustained group attack.
Again, following advice, he pleaded guilty in the Magistrates’ Court and his case was committed for sentence. The two others involved were younger than our client. They were also sentenced but received periods of detention.
Expert Psychologist Report
Sarah correctly identified that the court would benefit from a report dealing with his personal difficulties. A report was obtained from a psychologist with expertise in dealing with young children and immature adults.
This report was shared with the Probation officer writing the pre-sentence report. This led to a recommendation of a suspended sentence including community activities. Our client had helped himself by voluntarily attending and alcohol treatment program.
Steve made detailed representations about categorisation of both the sexual offences and assault matter. It was argued that the aggravating features could be properly balanced against our client’s immaturity and the level of his intellectual function.
As a result, the Judge felt able to step away from an immediate custodial sentence and instead suspend sentence with onerous but constructive community elements. The sentence would operate to protect the public in future by reducing the risk of any repetition of offending.
Contact Steve Gosnell or Sarah Lees-Collier