Exceptional circumstances justified not imposing custodial sentence in case of employee theft

By: Ciaran Joyce BL

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Court of Appeal dismisses appeal of allegedly unduly lenient suspended sentence, and 240 hours of community service, imposed for theft from an employer to feed an online gambling addiction, finding that while an immediate custodial sentence should be imposed where employee fraud is evident, there were exceptional circumstances to warrant the sentencing judge departing from the default sentence in this case.

Criminal law – sentencing – undue leniency – whether a suspended sentence and 240 hours of community service imposed for theft was unduly lenient – section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1993 – section 4 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud) Offences Act 2001 – breach of trust – O’Malley Sentencing Law and Practice (Roundhall, 2009) – whether the sentence was a substantial departure from what would be regarded as the appropriate sentence – appeal dismissed.

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