One of the cases was an appeal by an individual who had been sentenced to two months, consecutive, on three cases of shop theft.
This individual had 105 previous convictions for like offences.
The grounds of his appeal were that the totality of sentence was manifestly excessive.
During our pre-court briefing, we had all agreed that the guidelines for such offences encouraged individuals to look upon a very short custodial sentence as a break between offending. Something of a rest and recuperation period. We also agreed that a message needed to be sent.
During the appeal, the appellant, via his advocate, was told that sentence was at large but he chose not to take the hint and refused to abandon his appeal. His advocate was fully aware of what we had in mind by "sentence at large" but was unable to convince his client who had clearly expected each sentence to be made concurrent.
He was quite upset when he found the original sentences doubled and consecutive. He will now be spending Christmas and the New Year... and quite some time after that, in prison.
Two to four weeks in custody, for this individual would clearly have been little more than an inconvenience. His comments following the handing down of the amended sentence suggest that six months plus six months on licence would be somewhat more than an inconvenience.
A prison sentence is, by and large, an ineffective and costly exercise but in this case, perhaps...