Court Corrects Sentencing Errors in R v Terrance David Bailey: Emphasizes Personal Mitigation and Totality Guideline

Citation: [2023] EWCA Crim 1542
Judgment on

Introduction

In the appeal case of R v Terrance David Bailey, the legal principles of sentencing, total sentence reduction, and the Totality Guideline are thoroughly examined. The case demonstrates the appellate court’s role in correcting sentences that may not comprehensively reflect all relevant factors, particularly the offender’s personal circumstances and history of offending.

Key Facts

Terrance David Bailey was sentenced to a total term of 42 months’ imprisonment for three counts of non-residential burglary. These offences involved the break-ins at various Co-op stores within a short time frame, resulting in substantial financial losses to the stores. The appellant’s criminal history included 37 convictions for 102 offences, indicating a pattern of persistent offending. However, a notable gap of eight years without any convictions, coinciding with significant changes in his personal life, formed part of the appellant’s mitigation.

The Court considered several legal principles in its judgment:

  1. Personal Mitigation: The Court noted Bailey’s previously long period without offending, his family commitments, and his employment status as factors that should be considered for mitigation.

  2. Totality Guideline: The guideline is invoked to prevent an aggregate sentence from being disproportionate to the totality of the offending behavior. It requires a global reduction in individual sentences or an overall adjustment to reflect totality properly.

  3. Proportionality and Just Sentencing: The Court emphasized that any sentence imposed must be just and proportionate, in accordance with Sentencing Council guidelines, taking into account both aggravating and mitigating circumstances.

  4. Guilty Plea Reduction: Bailey had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, entitling him to a one-third reduction of his sentence in alignment with established principles encouraging early admissions of guilt to reduce the burden on the judicial system.

Outcomes

After reviewing the case, the Court identified two main errors in the original sentencing:

  1. Lack of full reflection of personal mitigation in the sentence.
  2. Failure to apply a discount to reflect the principle of totality.

Taking these issues into account, the appellate court adjusted the sentences, reducing them to 18 months on each count with a further reduction after considering totality. Considering Bailey’s one-third reduction for his guilty plea, the final sentence was adjusted to 10 months imprisonment for each count, served consecutively, for a total of 30 months’ imprisonment.

Conclusion

The Court of Appeal’s judgment in R v Terrance David Bailey serves as an important reminder of the necessity of incorporating personal mitigation factors and adhering to the Totality Guideline when determining sentences. It reinforces the principle that sentences must be proportionate, not only to the seriousness of the offense but also to the offender’s entire criminal conduct and personal circumstances. The reduction from 42 months to 30 months’ imprisonment reflects the appellate court’s commitment to ensuring that all legal principles are appropriately considered and applied. This case elucidates the vigilant judicial oversight required to maintain justice and fairness in the sentencing process.

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