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Minimum terms

High Court setting of minimum terms for mandatory life sentences under the Criminal Justice Act 2003

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Case No: 2004/544/MTS


Neutral Citation Number:  [2007] EWHC 675 (QB)

                                                                                               4th May 2007

Before :


Between :



(Transcript of the Handed Down Judgment of
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1. On 16 September 2003, following a trial at the Central Criminal Court before HH Judge James Stewart QC, the defendant was convicted of the murder of Paula Injai. The defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment and, in a report written to the Lord Chief Justice, the trial judge recommended that the defendant should serve a minimum period of 14 years. I am now required under sections 269 and 276 and Schedule 22 Criminal Justice Act 2003 to set the period to be served by the defendant before the early release provisions in section 28(5)-(8) Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 apply to him
2. The defendant was born on 7 June 1963. On 8 January 2003 he had been separated from his second wife, the deceased, for about 4 months. He had previously been convicted of assaulting Mrs Injai and was the subject of a non-molestation order. Usually the deceased agreed to take their son Isaac to visit his father in a public place but on this occasion she was persuaded to take Isaac to the defendant’s flat. The defendant had decided to kill his wife. He told a work colleague the day before that he would hear all about it afterwards. When Mrs Injai arrived with Isaac the defendant attacked her with a knife to her neck. There were 67 sites of injury from the knife and a blunt instrument. His defence, rejected by the jury, was provocation arising from an alleged attack by the deceased upon him.
4. I have received, read and considered a victim impact statement from the deceased’s daughter, Sarah Sargeson, who at a young age has been required to cease her paid employment and take on the mothering role both for her full brother and for her half-brother, Isaac.
5. I have received a short letter from the defendant who expresses his remorse for his crime.
6. I should set the minimum term by reference to the transitional provisions contained in schedule 22 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, in particular paragraphs 7 and 8. I may not, under paragraph 8, specify a part of the sentence which is greater than that which would have been notified under the practice followed by the Secretary of State before December 2002. The practice of the Secretary of State in considering murders committed between 31 May 2002 and 18 December 2003 was to follow recommendations made by the Lord Chief Justice in accordance with his Practice Statement of 31 May 2002. During that period there were ‘normal’ and ‘higher’ starting points set at 12 and 15/16 years which were varied according to features in aggravation and mitigation of the offence.
7. The starting point for this offence was 12 years. The offence was aggravated by (1) the planning which preceded it and (2) the course of conduct of which the killing was the culmination.
8. I agree with the opinion of the trial judge that the appropriate minimum term, which I now set, is 14 years less 8 months 6 days spent on remand awaiting trial.
9. The defendant should understand that this is not the maximum period he will serve. This is the period he must serve before he may be considered for parole. He will not be released if and while he remains an unacceptable risk to the public.





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