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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:  MTS / 317 / 2004
Neutral Citation Number:  [2006] EWHC 3261  (QB)

Royal Courts of Justice
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Thursday 21 December  2006








                                                           Lee Joseph Paul PARKINSON         Defendant

The Honourable Mr Justice Penry-Davey:
1. On 27 May 2002 Lee Joseph Paul Parkinson, born on 22 November 1982 and now 24 years old was convicted by a jury of murdering John Edge on 29 November 2001. I tried the case with a jury and sentenced him to life imprisonment. He is an “existing prisoner” within the meaning of schedule 22 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003. No minimum term has been set by the Home Secretary. It now falls to me to determine, pursuant to section 269 of the Act, the minimum period which he should serve before the early release provisions apply to him.
2. My recommendation to the Home Secretary on the minimum period the applicant should serve was 12 years, based upon Lord Bingham CJ’s letter of 10 February 1997, that is to say a starting point of 14 years. Lord Woolf CJ agreed with my recommendation of 12 years.
3. The deceased John Edge (aged 28) was a friend of the applicant, then aged 19. Both were alcoholics. On the night of 28/29 November 2001 when he had drunk considerable amounts and possibly taken anti-depressant drugs, the applicant assaulted the deceased by punching, kicking and stamping on him with considerable force in the hallway of the house where the applicant had a flat, causing fatal injuries including fractures to the head and body. The applicant alleged that he had discovered the deceased in the act of stealing his stereo equipment as a means of satisfying the debt of £25 which the applicant owed the deceased; he said he was acting in self defence and alleged provocation. In my report to the Home Secretary I described the offence as an apparently spontaneous attack in drink by a 19 year old with considerable violence but no weapon.
4. Representations have been made on the applicant’s behalf by Mr Michael Shorrock QC. He identifies the following mitigating circumstances:
i) The applicant’s young age;
ii) The evidence that the victim bore the applicant a grudge and that the victim was attempting to take away the applicant’s prize stereo equipment. It is suggested that that was evidence of provocation falling short of the legal definition. The prosecution’s contention that the evidence of the burglary was stage managed was it is suggested not supported by the evidence.
iii) The absence of an intent to kill.
iv) The absence of any weapon or planning, with an impulsive act fuelled by drink and drugs.
v) Remorse.
5. Under the terms of section 269 and Schedule 21 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 the starting point for this offence would be 15 years. I have to have regard to the term of 12 years recommended by the Lord Chief Justice. The term I fix must be no more than in my judgment the Home Secretary would have been likely to set under his pre-December 2002 practice.
6. Having considered the case I believe that the Home Secretary would have accepted the recommendation of the Lord Chief Justice, namely that the minimum period should be 12 years. Taking into account the relevant factors including the mitigation in my judgment the appropriate minimum term is 12 years in this case..The applicant should also have taken in to account the time spent in custody before trial namely 5 months 27 days.
7. Accordingly, I order that the provisions of section 28(5) to (8) of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 (the release provisions) are to apply to the applicant when he has served 11 years 6 months and 3 days.


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