27 February 2001 1 Times Law Reports
COURT OF APPEAL Criminal Division
Regina v. Alden
Regina v Wright
Before Lord Justice Kennedy, Mr Justice Henriques and Mr Justice Owen
Judgment February 15 2001 .
Criminal sentencing – sentencing levels for buggery – Human Rights
Convention makes no change
Convention makes no change in approach to sentences
Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights made no change in the
approach to sentencing in cases of buggery: * R v Willis * ((1975) 1 WLR
292) remained the starting point.
The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, so held in a reserved judgment
dismissing the appeals of Barrie Owen Alden and John Robert Stafford Wright
against sentences imposed by Judge Crowther, QC, at Newport Crown Court,
Gwent, on their convictions:
(i) in Alden’s case of four counts of buggery, five counts of indecent
assault on a male and one count of committing gross indecency with a child
(there were six victims) for which he was sentenced to a total of 15 years
imprisonment, and (ii) in Wright’s case of two counts of attempted buggery
and four counts of indecent assault (there were four victims) for which he
was sentenced to a total of eight years imprisonment.
Mr Nicholas Cooke, QC, assigned by the Registrar of Criminal Appeals, and
Mr Hugh Wallace, pro bono, for Alden; Mr Malcolm Bishop, QC, assigned by
the Registrar of Criminal Appeals, for Wright; Mr David Perry and Mr Martin
Kelly for the Crown.
MR JUSTICE HENRIQUES , giving the judgment of the court, said that these
offences had taken place at an approved school in Gwent where Alden was
employed between 1967 and 1984 as a housemaster and subsequently as deputy
headmaster and deputy principal, and where Wright was employed as a
housemaster between 1966 and 1969.
The grounds of appeal raised arguments in particular in relation to the
proposition that sentencing levels had increased since the time the
offences were committed.
Having considered the cases, their Lordships found a consistency of
sentencing approach formulated in Willis and continued to the present time.
The appellants also relied on article 7 of the Convention.
In their Lordships’ judgment, article 7 prohibited the imposition of a
sentence greater than the maximum penalty at the time the offence was
committed, but did not involve the European Court in the consideration of
levels of sentencing within the contracting states.
The sentences were fully deserved in each cases and both appeals were
Solicitors: Crown Prosecution Service, Headquarters.
27/02/2001 Times Law Reports