Sgt Danny Nightingale refused permission to appeal conviction

nightingale

Introduction

On 20 May 2014, Sgt Danny Nightingale was refused leave to appeal against his conviction.

What does that mean?

When someone wants to appeal against conviction or sentence, they have to apply for permission. This is reviewed by the Single Judge (a High Court judge who looks at the case papers but doesn’t hear any oral argument) and permission is either granted or refused.

If permission is refused, the appellant has the opportunity to ‘renew’ the application before the full court. This means that the application goes before the court (in front of two or three judges, as appropriate) for an oral hearing. At that hearing, the appellant must apply for permission to appeal again. If it is granted, the court then hears the appeal, if it is refused, that is the end of the line.

We have a fact sheet on the appeals process which contains further details.

Ok, so remind me of the history of the Nightingale case…

Well, where to start? But in essence…

  • He was charged with possession of a prohibited weapon and ammunition.
  • He pleaded guilty and was sentenced.
  • We have a short post on the basic background up to this point here.
  • He appealed against his sentence, and was successful.
  • See here for a post about the sentence appeal.
  • He then applied to vacate his plea (withdraw it, essentially) so that he could plead not guilty and have a trial.
  • He then made an abuse of process application – an attempt to stop the trial from proceeding. See our post on that, here.
  • He was tried and was convicted at the retrial. We have a fact sheet on that here.
  • He was then sentenced (again).
  • It now appears that he appealed against his conviction, again. See here for an ITV news report.

So what happened?

It is our understanding that Nightingale applied for permission to appeal and was refused by the Single Judge. We then believe that he renewed that application before the full court, led by the Lord Chief Justice.

That application was refused – Nightingale failed in his attempt to have a full hearing about his appeal.

The court will have reviewed the grounds of appeal – the reasons why Nightingale says his conviction is unsafe – and decided that the conviction was safe.

And what happens next?

Well, that will most likely be the end of the line for Nightingale. There is an avenue to appeal to the Supreme Court but that has to be on the basis that there is a point of law of general public importance. On the information we have seen, it would appear that this is not such a case. Further, this can only be a possibility where the Court of Appeal grants leave to appeal and then dismisses the actual appeal. Here, it seems that the Court of Appeal simply refused to grant permission to appeal.

So Nightingale is left with a conviction for firearms, and thousands upon thousands of pounds of public money (to pay for the court time) and Nightingale’s supporters’ money (to pay for his lawyers) has been spent.

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4 thoughts on “Sgt Danny Nightingale refused permission to appeal conviction

  1. patrickhadley

    “So Nightingale is left with a conviction for firearms, and thousands upon thousands of pounds of public money (to pay for the court time) and Nightingale’s supporters’ money (to pay for his lawyers) has been spent.”

    Has Nightingale been made to pay for these costs, or does this only apply to politicians and their ex-wives?

    Reply
    1. Liberte, Egalite, Sororite

      Why is possession of a firearm being treated so leniently anyway. He should have got longer soldier or not he’s not in a war zone now.

      Reply
      1. Dan Bunting

        I don’t think possession of a firearm is treated leniently at all, quite the opposite. There’s the mandatory 5 year minimum for possession (which is very unjust in my view). It’s just this particular case where Mr Nightingale got his sentence reduced on a basis which, as it turned out, may not have been factually accurate.

        I’ve actually got no problem with his sentence – it’s a just and fair one in the circumstances. It’s just a shame that such leniency isn’t extended to the vast majority of the population…

  2. Liberte, Egalite, Sororite

    My basis for criticising the leniency of the sentence is the factual evidence of what happens when men are allowed access to guns and rifles in a civilian setting, namely, someone and or many people end up massacred and that is a fact. The message should be guns are not toys if you’ve got one in your possession we have every right to assume that you intended to use it.

    Reply

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