R v Shakeel Janjua: Court of Appeal Addresses Failure to Explain Sentencing Calculations & Importance of Totality Guideline

Citation: [2024] EWCA Crim 32
Judgment on


The case of R v Shakeel Janjua before the Royal Courts of Justice addresses the appeal against a sentencing decision made in the Crown Court at Birmingham. The appellant, Shakeel Janjua, formerly sentenced to a total of 7 years’ imprisonment for various offences, seeks permission to appeal against his sentence. The appeal raises significant issues relating to the sentencing process, notably the judge’s failure to adequately explain the sentence calculations and the importance of considering the Sentencing Council’s Totality Guideline.

Key Facts

Shakeel Janjua, aged 26, was initially convicted and sentenced for a series of offences, including dangerous driving, possession of drugs with intent to supply, and Bail Act offences. He had a history of prior offences, including robbery and driving-related crimes. The appeal focuses on the sentences from two separate indictments (Birmingham and Wolverhampton) as well as two consecutive terms for Bail Act offences.

Several key legal principles emerge from the Court of Appeal’s judgment:

  1. Explanation of Sentencing Decisions: The Court reiterated the requirement for sentencing judges to clearly explain how they calculated an overall sentence, particularly in cases of substantial length - as per R v Bailey [2020] EWCA Crim 1719.

  2. The Totality Principle: Sentencers must refer to the Sentencing Council’s Totality Guideline when imposing sentences for multiple offences to ensure that the combined sentence is just and proportionate.

  3. Credit for Guilty Pleas: The principle that defendants should receive a reduction in their sentence for early guilty pleas is affirmed. The degree of credit should be reflective of the stage at which the plea was entered.

  4. Treatment of Concurrent and Consecutive Sentences: The court assessed whether terms for separate offences should run concurrently or consecutively, relating each decision to the principle of totality.

  5. Personal Mitigation and Aggravating Factors: The balance of personal mitigation against aggravating factors in the sentencing decision was considered, recognizing the significance of repeat offending and treatment of the justice system.

  6. Reduction for Totality: The Court of Appeal has the authority to adjust individual sentences within indictments to ensure the aggregate sentence is proportionate, as seen in the case at hand.

  7. Credit for Mitigation and Totality: Despite acknowledging aggravating factors, the appellate court found that the sentencing judge failed to sufficiently consider both the appellant’s mitigation and the principles of totality.


Based on the appeal analysis, the following adjustments were made:

  • The overall term of 21 months in respect of the Birmingham indictment remained unchanged.
  • The 3-month sentence for the second Bail Act offence was made concurrent rather than consecutive.
  • The sentences of 3 years 6 months for the Class A drug offences on the Wolverhampton indictment were replaced with concurrent terms of 3 years’ imprisonment.
  • The sentence of 18 months for Wolverhampton dangerous driving was reduced to 12 months’ imprisonment.
  • The total aggregate term was reduced from 7 years to 5 years and 9 months.


R v Shakeel Janjua is a demonstration of the courts’ careful scrutiny of sentencing decisions and the imperative to adhere to established guidelines. The Court of Appeal underscored the necessity for transparency in explaining how sentences are calculated and an adherence to the Totality Guideline, ensuring the subsequent sentence for multiple offences is proportionate. The appeal resulted in a significant reduction of the sentence imposed, reflecting the court’s commitment to just and equitable sentencing principles. This case serves as a reminder for both the prosecution and the defence to rigorously address the principles of totality and mitigation in sentencing submissions.