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Public law and Regulation

Case reports and guidance on public law and professional regulation issues

21 SEP 2011

R (Trigger) v Northampton Magistrates Court [2011] EWHC 149 (Admin)

Criminal law – magistrates – sentencing – slip rules

2 February 2011
Divisional Court
Moore-Bick LJ; Ramsey J

Section 142 of the Magistrates Courts Act 1980, which allows sentences to be varied or rescinded, must be used speedily and is most likely to be used to rectify mistakes rather than as a resentencing power.
On appeal from:
Northampton Magistrates Court
(1) Mr Trigger (T) sought judicial review of a decision of Northampton Magistrates Court in October 2010 to activate a suspended sentence given to him in February 2009. In the intervening 20 months, T was convicted of two further offences and the magistrates purported to use their powers under s 142 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 to reconsider the suspended sentence of February 2009 and ordered T to be imprisoned for eight weeks. T argued that s 142 was a slip rule to rectify sentencing errors and not a re-sentencing power, relying on R (Holme) v Liverpool Magistrates Court [2004] EWHC 3131 (Admin).

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