High Court Judgments of Public Interest
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An application to also dismiss the kidnapping charge was declined. Leave was granted to amend the particulars of the kidnapping charge. The kidnapping charge included events that had occurred outside the vehicle. Confinement within the vehicle was not essential to the charge and the defence would not be prejudiced by an amendment.
Following an argument with the victim, the appellant threatened and assaulted her, rendering her unconscious. When she came to, he dragged her into her home, isolated her in her bedroom and did not allow her to leave. He then strangled her, again rendering unconscious and also incontinent.
While strangulation has been a stand-alone offence since December 2018, there have been very few appeals to the Senior Courts. Further, it is only relatively recently that strangulation within the context of domestic relationships has attracted the attention of policy makers and scientific research. Certain features of this sort of offending are particularly concerning: the real possibility of permanent brain injury or death; the psychological control and coercion inherent in the offending; and the increased risk of a future fatal attack.
It is necessary to undertake a full evaluation of the circumstances of each case of strangulation in a domestic context and the courts must be aware of and responsive to the impact of this type of offending on victims.
The three-year starting point adopted by the Judge was lenient in the circumstances. Therefore, after all mitigating factors were taken into account, the end sentence was not manifestly excessive.
Starting point of three years, six months adopted.
The Court adopted a starting point of 8 years 6 months. A discount of 15 per cent was applied to take into account Mr Archer's personal factors. No discount was applied for the pre-trial offer to plead guilty to manslaughter, as unlike other case law, the offer was made only informally.
In the result, Mr Archer was sentenced to 7 years 3 months' imprisonment.
An MPI of 50 per cent was also applied.