Court of Appeal Dismisses Appeal in R v Nicholas Ian Roddis, Upholding Strict Sentencing Approach for Terrorism Notification Offences

Citation: [2024] EWCA Crim 35
Judgment on

Introduction

In the case of R v Nicholas Ian Roddis, the Court of Appeal considered an application to appeal a sentence handed down by the Crown Court at Sheffield. The key topics discussed revolve around the severity of the sentence, with particular focus on terrorism notification offences, the principle of totality, and the relevance of aggravating features in sentencing.

Key Facts

Nicholas Ian Roddis was sentenced to a total of four years’ imprisonment. This sentence comprised multiple offences, including stalking, possession of ammunition, failure to notify changes as per the Counter Terrorism Act 2008 requirements, and partly activating a suspended sentence for a previous weapons offence. The offences for which Roddis was being sentenced dated back to a 2007 conviction when he was found guilty of planting an imitation bomb and related terrorism offences.

Several legal principles were applied when assessing Roddis’s application for leave to appeal against his sentence. The court considered the seriousness of failing to comply with the Counter Terrorism Act 2008 notification requirements, comparing it to similar requirements for sexual offences and breaches of Sexual Harm Prevention Orders (SHPO). The legal principles at play here include:

  1. Severity of Offence: The court noted the gravity of Roddis’s past terrorism offences, suggesting that failure to comply with notification requirements following such convictions must be met with more stringent sentences. The court disagreed with the comparison to SHPO breaches or the Sexual Offences Act 2003, underscoring that terrorism offences are of the utmost severity.

  2. Aggravating Factors: The court highlighted numerous aggravating factors, such as Roddis committing offences while on bail and during a suspended sentence, along with having previous convictions that were highly relevant.

  3. Principle of Totality: The court addressed the accusation that the judge at first instance failed to consider this principle, which requires that any sentencing decision reflect all the offending behavior and the offender’s circumstances as a whole. The court found that totality had been adequately considered and adjusted for by the sentencing judge.

Outcomes

The appeal was dismissed in alignment with the single judge’s refusal to grant leave, affirming that the original sentencing judge had effectively applied the proper legal principles and made appropriate adjustments in accordance with the principle of totality. It was concluded that the sentence was neither manifestly excessive nor erroneous in consideration of the nature of the offences and the offender’s history.

Conclusion

The determination of the Court of Appeal in R v Nicholas Ian Roddis reinforces the strict sentencing approach taken towards terrorism-related offences. More specifically, it emphasizes that courts should consider such offences, including failing to comply with terrorism notification requirements, to be of a different and more serious character than other types of offences with notification requirements. The decision also upholds the individual considerations of the sentencing judge in the application of the principle of totality and acknowledges the presence of aggravating factors that warrant a cumulative sentence. Consequently, the Court dismissed the appeal for lack of arguable ground to contend the sentence’s excessiveness or error in principle.

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