Litigation Recent Decisions 24/3/98

Decisions are taken from Lawtel's Case Law database. LTL: Lawtel report; TLR: Times Law Reports; ILR: Independent Law Report.

Challenge to legislation relating to release dates

R v (1) Secretary of State for the Home Department (2) Governor of Swaledale Prison, Ex Parte Francois

(A P) (1998)

HL (Lords Browne-Wilkinson, Slynn, Nolan, Hope, Hutton) 12/3/9A prisoner's application for judicial review was dismissed by the DC, where the Secretary of State for the Home Department had correctly interpreted the relevant provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 in treating sentences imposed on him on two separate occasions, which exceeded four years in total, as a single term for the purposes of calculating his early release date.

The appellant contended that s.51(2) of the Act as a matter of ordinary language could only be taken as referring to sentences passed on the same occasion, because to do otherwise resulted in the sentence imposed on the first sentencing occasion (FSO) being retrospectively increased on the second sentencing occasion (SSO) which could not be justified by s.2(2)(a) of the Act i.e. the group of sentences on the SSO were not associated offences for the purposes of s.31(2) of the Act.