AG's reference (no 91 of 2014) sub nom R v Joseph Williams [2014] MHLO 137 (CA)

The trial judge had imposed a sentence of 14 years' imprisonment, together with with a s45A hospital order and limitation direction, on an offender (W) who had pleaded guilty to attempted murder. Following an AG's reference the Court of Appeal held that: (1) The appropriate range was 17-25 years, the starting point was 20 years after a trial, and the judge was not at fault for reducing the sentence by six years given the unusual facts of the case that related to W's mental health. (2) It was not certain that the offence was motivated by antipathy to V's sexual orientation; it could equally have been the case that W did not want to share his flat with anyone. (3) As the judge considered that W's dangerousness was not confined to his mental illness, he should have passed an extended sentence to protect the public in the event that the criteria for the hospital order and restrictions were no longer satisfied, but the offender remained a risk to the public. (4) An extended period of five years was added to the 14-year sentence. The hospital direction with restrictions remained unchanged. (Summary based on Lawtel summary of ex tempore judgment.)


Before: Fulford LJ, Hamblen J, Judge Wait

Date: 26/11/14 (ex tempore)

For the Attorney General: S Whitehouse QC

For the offender: A Jefferies QC

External link

No Bailii link (neutral citation is unknown or not applicable)

Julia Collins, 'Court of Appeal tells Margate homophobic thug Joseph Williams he will serve at least two thirds of sentence years for attack on Connor Huntley' (Kent Online, 26/11/14) . Despite the Court of Appeal's statement that it was uncertain, the Solicitor General is quoted as saying "I hope the increased sentence of 19 years sends out a clear message that attacks motivated by homophobia will be dealt with by long prison sentences".