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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: 2004/736/737/738/MTS
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION    Neutral Citation: 2964QB

Courts of Justice
Crown Square, Manchester M3 3FL

Date: 7th December 2006


Before:

MR. JUSTICE HENRIQUES
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Application by ARUNA JOSHI, MANOJ JAGIVAN MISTRY & MILAN JAGIVAN MISTRY for the setting of a minimum term pursuant to Schedule 22, paragraph 6, of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.
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Decision


I direct that pursuant to CPR PD 39A paragraph 6.1 no official shorthand note shall be taken of this decision and that copies of this version as handed down may be treated as authentic
 
The Hon Mr Justice Henriques

I am required to set the minimum terms of three Mandatory Life Sentences pursuant to Schedule 22 paragraph 6 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. 

On the 9th of July 2003 Aruna Joshi was sentenced by His Honour Judge Hawkins QC to Life Imprisonment with a recommendation that she serve a minimum of 16 years.  She was born on the 20th of September 1959.

Manoj Jagivan Mistry was sentenced to Life Imprisonment with a recommendation that he serve a minimum term of 17 years.  He was born on the 7th of March 1966.

Milan Jagivan Mistry was sentenced to Life Imprisonment with a recommendation that he serve a minimum term of 27 years.  He was born on the 2nd of June 1971.

Aruna Joshi had a long standing relationship with the Deceased, Tahir Butt.  She formed a new relationship with Manoj Mistry.  A plan was formed to kill Tahir Butt.  He was lured to Aruna Joshi’s house where he was killed by the three defendants.  A ligature was used.  After the killing the body of the deceased was driven in his own vehicle to an area off the M1 where an attempt was made to dispose of the body by setting fire to the vehicle. 

In sentencing the Judge concluded that this was a planned premeditated murder where an attempt was made to dispose of the body.  The two brothers were involved in making a phone call to the victim’s widow purporting to suggest the deceased had been killed by drug dealers.

Aruna Joshi is now 47 and was 39 at the date of the murder.  She encouraged the acts of her co-accused.  She co-operated with the police and returned from India and surrendered to the police.  She is of previous good character and has been a model prisoner.  She maintains her innocence.

On behalf of Manoj Mistry representations are made pointing out that an intention to kill is not an aggravating factor – it is assumed within the starting norm – an absence of an intention to kill mitigates the norm.  It is conceded that this was a premeditated murder and it is submitted that the attempted destruction of the body should not aggravate the term since it was subject of a separate charge.  He is of good character.  He is now 40 years of age and was 33 years of age at the time of the offence.

On behalf of Milan Mistry in self made grounds he states he is of good character.  He is now 35 and was 27 at the time of the killing.  He is a professional mechanic and a devout person who is a model prisoner.

The sentencing Judge was in error when he stated ‘in my view this offence of murder is aggravated by an intention to kill by those that took part’.  The point was well made in Manoj Mistry’s submissions.  This was a planned killing in which Manoj Mistry and Milan Mistry made determined effort to dispose of the body.  Good character and good conduct in custody do not assist the applicants in the setting of the minimum  term. 
The relevant practice direction at the time of the killing was Lord Bingham’s letter of the 10th of February 1997 which referred to a norm of 14 years whilst Lord Woolf’s practice direction handed down on the 31st of May 2002 referring to a norm of 12 years preceded the date of sentence.  Whichever guidance is followed on these facts I reach the same conclusion.  The submission that the attempted destruction of the body should be disregarded as it was subject to a separate charge is flawed.  If it was correct such criminality would necessarily go unpunished.

I set the tariffs in these cases as follows:

Aruna Joshi – 15 years less time spent in custody namely 10 months and 22 days.

Manoj Mistry – 16 years less time spent in custody namely 14 months and 6 days.

Milan Mistry – 16 years less time spent in custody namely 14 months and 6 days.

 


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