HMA v Joseph Llewellyn

Mr Llewellyn has had his appeal against sentence granted and as a result his custodial sentence has been quashed. The appellant was sentenced to 18 months detention after being convicted of assault but has had his custodial sentence quashed following an appeal.

The appellant was convicted of assaulting another young man with his brother by throwing a brick at him and threatening him by following him and carrying a knife. At the time of the offence the appellant was only 16 years old and although he later committed an assault, had never been in trouble before this point. The Criminal Justice Social Work report in this case indicated that the appellant had made positive changes in his life and engaged with services although he was troubled by ADHD and his poor family relationships.

However, the sheriff indicated that a custodial sentence was the only option. The appellant’s legal team argued that the sentence was excessive and the sheriff had erred in the approach of sentencing. There was a focus placed on the appellant’s age by his legal team and also his lack of previous convictions and the reduced nature of the offence of which the appellant was convicted.

However, the sheriff took the view that notwithstanding this, the offence was a very serious one and there was no other alternative. However, the appeal court did not agree with this view and the sentence was therefore quashed and a Community Payback order put in its place with 200 hours unpaid work to be completed within 12 months and a two year supervision requirement.

The appeal court concluded: “We do not consider that the sheriff gave sufficient weight to the appellant’s age and circumstances at the time of the commission of the offence or to the lengthy passage of time which had elapsed prior to him being sentenced…In relation to his circumstances there is one matter in particular which strikes us as being of importance and which is not referred to in the sheriff’s report. As we have already noted, the report from the clinical psychologist disclosed that the appellant was suffering from significant mental health difficulties in the period of time around the commission of the offence.”