Appeals against Sentence; England and Wales
By Farrhat Arshad
Whether teenage, drunk victim “particularly vulnerable” within the meaning of Sexual Offences Guideline;
R v K
 EWCA Crim 197
K appealed against a total sentence of 12 years’ imprisonment imposed for two counts of rape (oral and vaginal) two counts of assault by penetration and one offence of sexual assault. All the offences were committed against the same victim, “AB”, who was the 17 year old niece of the appellant’s partner. The offences were committed when the victim was in bed at her aunt’s house following a party. She stated in evidence she felt quite drunk. The judge had categorised the rapes as Category 2A: in her view, AB was particularly vulnerable due to her personal circumstances as a teenager who was drunk and unable to resist the assault. Looking at the appellant's culpability, there was an abuse of trust.
Appeal allowed: the CACD held that whilst undoubtedly vulnerable, AB did not fall into the category of "particularly vulnerable due to personal circumstances". Category 3A was the correct one. The aggravating features identified by the judge would justify an increase above the starting point and there had to be an upward adjustment to reflect the fact that this was not a single offence of rape but that AB was raped in different ways and was also sexually assaulted several times. The judge was entitled and correct to reflect the whole course of sexual offending on count 5 and to make all other sentences run concurrently. The appropriate sentence after a trial in this case was one of 10 years.
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