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On a positive note, it may be that the SRA is backing away from wholesale striking off for any dishonesty except in exceptional circumstances. I’ve always struggled think of what might be exceptional in relation to dishonesty; as opposed to very strong mitigation. If not, there is in reality no range of sentences available to the sentencerIf so, it’s position begs the question of how the appeal process -in effect a prosecutor’s appeal - should be used. In criminal circles the AG reference is perhaps apposite. I found this from AG Ref (No 4 of 1989) where it was said that: “A sentence is unduly lenient, we would hold, where it falls outside the range of sentences which the judge, applying his mind to all the relevant factors, could reasonably consider appropriate … However it must always be remembered that sentencing is an art rather than a science; that the trial judge is particularly well placed to assess the weight to be given to various competing considerations; and that leniency is not in itself a vice. That mercy should season justice is a proposition as soundly based in law as it is in literature.”Of course, if the court upholds the AG it can decide not increase the sentence. Further, as the decision places the defendant in double jeopardy the increased sentence is discounted from what would have been a “proper sentence “.Guidance will be useful. Even if it is: any dishonesty = strike off. I hope and expect that it will be more nuanced than that.I assume that the other recent cases will be appealed. Odd if they’re not. And there are a few similar decisions made over the years that were not appealed.We can only hope that Ms James has both the stomach and the purse for the appeal.
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