We have covered the case of Ashley Charles, who was convicted of the murder of Phillip Sherriff and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 14 years on 9th November 2012. Last May we tried to find out a bit more information as to what was happening with any appeal, and were told that there would be a full appeal hearing this year.
Well, on 16th December 2013 the Court of Appeal heard the application to appeal against the conviction, as well as an appeal against the length of the tariff (a factsheet on appeal is here). The judgment is not out yet, but the news reports indicate that the appeal against conviction was (unsurprisingly) dismissed as was, perhaps more surprisingly, the appeal against the sentence.
We will return to this case when the judgment of the Court of Appeal is published. In brief though, the question of whether this was murder or manslaughter was very much one for the jury and the Court of Appeal will always be very reluctant to interfere with what a jury has decided.
The sentence appeal did seem to have a lot more merit as the circumstances were such where a tariff of about 12 years would have been appropriate. It seems that the Court of Appeal said of the trial Judge’s decision that 14 years was the right tariff “On any view that assessment was a perfectly proper one. We see no grounds for this court to interfere.”
This is now, in reality, the end of the legal road for Mr Charles. As stated, we will give a bit more analysis when the judgment is published.