Gill v Birmingham City Council 


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The county court’s powers when sentencing for breaches of Anti-Social Behaviour Injunctions were considered in the Court of Appeal’s decision of Gill v Birmingham City Council [2016] EWCA Civ 608.

The county court’s powers when sentencing for breaches of Anti-Social Behaviour Injunctions were considered in the Court of Appeal’s decision of Gill v Birmingham City Council [2016] EWCA Civ 608.

Mr Gill was sentenced to 14 months and 23 days' imprisonment for breach of an anti- social behaviour injunction. Mr Gill lodged an appeal against this committal order, and argued the following:

  • firstly, the evidence against him was “flimsy” throughout and the Judge had not applied the relevant standard of proof, namely beyond reasonable doubt, and had based many of her findings on speculation;
  • secondly, the Judge should not have sentenced him in respect of two of the breaches of the injunction, because he had already pleaded guilty in the Magistrates Court, and was awaiting to be sentenced at the time of the committal proceedings; and
  • thirdly, the sentence of 14 months and 23 days' imprisonment was manifestly excessive and wholly disproportionate, especially when compared with the sentence of six weeks imposed by the Magistrates Court.

The first ground of appeal

The Court of Appeal concluded that there were no grounds for challenging the Judge’s findings of fact, concluding that:

“The judge’s conclusions were not merely speculation on her part; she weighed up each and every allegation and considered it against the appellant’s counter allegation on the basis of all the materials in this case”.

The second ground of appeal

Having considered the approach taken in the cases of Lomas v Parle (Practice Direction) [2003] EWCA Civ 1804 and Slade v Slade [2009] EWCA Civ 748, the Court of Appeal held that the Judge was clearly entitled to sentence Mr Gill in respect of the two breaches, even though he had already pleaded guilty in the Magistrates Court and was awaiting sentence.

The third ground of appeal

Even though the Court of Appeal rejected the first two grounds of appeal raised by Mr Gill, they did in fact agree with Mr Gill’s third argument and concluded that the sentence of fourteen months and twenty-three days was manifestly excessive, stating:

“I consider that he should have been given more credit for his two guilty pleas and that, taking into account the period of time the appellant had already spent of remand, and the fact that he had made genuine attempts to turn his life around and had obtained a job… the correct sentence in this case is only of 12 months”.

Here the Court of Appeal provided guidance on sentencing imposed on Defendants who breach the terms of an injunction and also clarified the position where incidents attract both civil and criminal sanctions.

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