There is a report in the Daily Mail of a sentencing hearing in Norwich Crown Court on 6th February where Margiris Jogela was sent down for 32 months for a robbery. Containing, as it did, a recently arrived foreign national, alcohol and crime, means there is a slight ‘slant’ in the comments (you have been warned).
In essence, Mr Jogela had moved to the UK from Lithuania 48 hours before the robbery (it doesn’t say what lead him to choose Norwich as a place to settle however). He was very drunk and, with an accomplice who got away, attacked a student (who had also been drinking). They stole the victim’s wallet and mobile and ran off.
Mr Jogela was traced very easily – it was all being watched on CCTV and, as it had been snowing (the robbery was on 18th January), the police tracked his footprints to where he was half a mile away..
There are Sentencing Guidelines for Robbery. Given when the offence occured, it seems that Mr Jogela entered a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity and received the full one third credit. This means that the Judge would have taken a starting point of 48 months (or 4 years).
We are told that the victim, fortunately, received no injuries. In light of that, and the fact that there was no weapon used, it would appear to be a ‘Level 1’ Robbery (starting point of 12 months with a range up to 3 years).
There are clearly various aggravating features – it was at night, there was an element of premeditation, there were two attackers on a vulnerable victim. We are not told whether Mr Jogela had any previous convictions.
This would still be, however, an offence at the top end of Level 1 and the expected sentence (after a trial) would be 3 years. Here, Mr Jogela received more than that. Why?
The short answer is that we don’t know. The Judge may well have explained this, but we don’t, as is all to common, have his sentencing remarks.
The guidelines are just that, a Judge is allowed to go outside of them in a suitable case. This would not, on the face of it, be such a case – the sentence appears to be too high.
For that reason, it is likely that there will be an appeal. If there is one, then we will find out more details about it and see whether the sentence is correct.
On another point, the Judge appears to have said that, due to the seriousness of the offence and the short period of time that Mr Jogela had been in the country, his presence here was ‘totally undesirable’. Why did he say that?
This relates to the power of the Crown Court, in certain circumstances, to make a recommendation for deportation. It is an area that we will look at in more detail, but, what the Judge meant was that as Mr Jogela is an EU national, he did not have a free hand as to whether deportation could be recommended. As stated, this is an area that we will cover in more detail.