The appellant (X) appealed against a sentence of three years’ imprisonment following a guilty plea to burglary.
X, who had numerous previous convictions for offences including burglary, had entered a house at night when the occupants, a mother and her autistic son, were upstairs. There was no confrontation and X took property including a television. He was later stopped in possession of the property and was drunk and abusive. The offence represented X’s third offence of domestic burglary. However, in sentencing X, the judge gave no indication of the amount of the discount awarded for his guilty plea.
X submitted that the sentence was manifestly excessive.
HELD: The offence would have fallen within the greater harm and lower culpability category 2 of the sentencing guidelines; the son’s autism meant that the effect of the burglary on him and his mother was substantial. However, there were substantial aggravating features including X’s record of numerous offences and the fact that he was drunk at the time which pushed the offence into category 1. The evidence against X was overwhelming; he had been caught red-handed and accordingly it would have been open to the judge to award less than the full discount available for X’s guilty plea. The sentence imposed, whilst severe, was not manifestly excessive.