The Commission has referred the sentence of David Pleasants to the Court of Appeal.
In December 2008, Mr Pleasants pleaded guilty to possession of heroin both with and without intent to supply, attempting to escape from custody and assault occasioning bodily harm. The offences were committed while on licence from a previous 14 year sentence for conspiracy to blackmail. The judge ordered that Mr Pleasants serve the whole remaining period of the 14 year sentence and made a new seven year sentence for possession with intent to run consecutive to that order.
The Commission decided to refer Mr Pleasant’s sentence to the Court of Appeal because it believes that there is a real possibility that the court will amend the sentence.
The referral is made on the basis that, in the particular circumstances of this case, there was no power to make the order revoking the licence for the previous sentence and allowing the new sentence to be made consecutive to that revocation.
This press release was issued by Justin Hawkins, Head of Communication, Criminal Cases Review Commission, on 0121 232 0906.
Notes to editors
- The Criminal Cases Review Commission is an independent body set up under the Criminal Appeal Act 1995. It is responsible for reviewing suspected and alleged miscarriages of criminal justice in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is based in Birmingham and is funded by the Ministry of Justice.
- There currently nine Commissioners who bring to the Commission considerable experience from a wide variety of backgrounds. Commissioners are appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister in accordance with the Office for the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice.
- The Commission receives around 1,000 applications for reviews (convictions and/or sentences) each year. Our current rates of referral are around 4%, which means around one in 25 of all applications are referred to the appeal courts.
- The Commission considers whether, as a result of new evidence or argument, there is a real possibility that the conviction would not be upheld were a reference to be made. New evidence or argument is argument or evidence which has not been raised during the trial or on appeal. Applicants should usually have appealed first. A case can be referred in the absence of new evidence or argument or an earlier appeal only if there are “exceptional circumstances”.
- If a case is referred, it is then for the appeal court to decide whether the conviction is unsafe or the sentence unfair.