R v Johnson and others [2006] CA

Thursday 26 October 2006 at 10:08 pm | In News | Post Comment

[Sentencing – an offender with no previous convictions can be dangerous, likewise an offender with previous convictions might not be dangerous – statutory presumption to be read accordingly]
Five conjoined appeals concerning effect of Sec 229 Criminal Justice Act 2003, dangerousness.

Held: Strictly speaking, although punitive in its effect, a sentence of imprisonment for public protection did not represent punishment for past offending; it was concerned with future risk and public protection.

R v Lang [2006] CA (on dangerousness) needed amplifying. It was not a prerequisite that the offender should have previous convictions to be dangerous. A man of good character might properly qualify for this sentence. The sentencer was entitled to conclude that the offender with previous convictions, even for specified offences, did not necessarily satisfy the requirements of dangerousness.

Just as the absence of previous convictions did not preclude a finding of dangerousness, the existence of previous convictions for specified offences did not compel such a finding. There was a presumption that it did so, which might be rebutted.

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