Hannah Edwards, instructed by ACA Law, secured a conditional discharge for a defendant who had pleaded guilty to ABH and criminal damage at Woolwich Crown Court. The actual bodily harm comprised of a 2cm laceration to the complainant’s face requiring hospital treatment and multiple sutures.
This case involved consideration of the law concerning crossing a significant age threshold. The defendant was seventeen at the time of the offences but due to a delay in charging, had just turned eighteen by the first appearance. He was of previous good character and suffered undiagnosed childhood trauma resulting from the complainant’s abuse of his family. Hannah advised that a psychiatrist be instructed, who diagnosed him as suffering PTSD.
On the sentencing guidelines, the Crown argued that this was a Category 2 offence, with a starting point of six months’ imprisonment. Hannah successfully argued that the undue prejudice to the defendant resulting from the excessive delay and the psychiatric harm resulting from childhood trauma justified a departure from the sentencing guidelines. The Judge accepted these submissions and imposed a conditional discharge in respect of both offences.