Imprisonment Avoided for Third Strike Domestic Burglary
We represented a client that pleaded guilty to a third-strike domestic burglary. The Court was therefore required to sentence him to 3 years imprisonment unless it was satisfied that there were exceptional circumstances which relate to the offence or the offender and justify not doing so.
Our client informed us that he suffered from addiction to drugs. He explained that a few days before his release from custody in relation to other offences, his medication had been changed. He explained that on release from custody, he became unwell as a result of this change, and missed his medication and probation appointments. This meant he had nowhere to live and was not provided with medication to prevent him from going into withdrawal. He, therefore, began using drugs and offended to finance his addiction and be able to feed himself.
We obtained his prison medical records which supported his account and put them before the Judge at his sentencing hearing. We set out detailed mitigation on his behalf regarding his childhood and recent bereavement and confirmed that should he be released, he has an address to go to. We argued that this case fell into a low sentencing category, as it was a crime of opportunity, no one was harmed or disturbed in the course of the burglary, and the value of the stolen items was not especially high.
The Judge considered the medical evidence and our submissions carefully. Taking into account the time our client had spent in custody and the long periods between the domestic burglaries, he was persuaded that there were exceptional circumstances that justify a departure from the mandatory sentence of 3 years imprisonment. Our client was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment suspended for 2 years, with conditions including unpaid work, a rehabilitation activity requirement and a six-month drugs rehabilitation requirement.
Our client was overjoyed that he would be released from custody to continue his recovery in the community.