Summary: Where a woman had been convicted of perverting the course of justice by retracting a truthful allegation of rape against her husband, the court was not entitled to interfere with the conviction. Whilst the woman had suffered domestic violence there was no evidence of duress and the prosecution had not been an abuse of process in light of the CPS policy in place at the time of the offence.
Abstract: The appellant (X) appealed against her conviction, following her plea of guilty, of doing an act tending and intended to pervert the course of justice. X had retracted a complaint of rape made against her husband (H) asserting that the complaint had been false. Proceedings against H were discontinued. X then reasserted the truth of the original complaint and issued proceedings for a non-molestation order in the county court, stating that she had been subjected to domestic violence and raped. She was charged with perverting the course of justice by falsely retracting a true allegation of rape. A pre-sentence report stated that X's marriage was violent and marred by a history of abuse. In the report X explained that she retracted the allegation as she felt immense guilt and decided that divorce proceedings would be sufficient punishment for H. She was sentenced to eight months' imprisonment. X successfully appealed against her sentence and, following that decision, the CPS issued fresh guidance in respect of the handling of retraction cases. Had the guidance been in force at the date of the offence it was likely that she would not have been prosecuted. X submitted that (1) had the issue been properly addressed before she pleaded guilty it would have been apparent that she had a viable defence in the form of duress and she should have been advised accordingly; (2) the prosecution should not have proceeded.
Appeal dismissed. (1) Duress was subject to clear limitations and those limitations should not be eroded, R. v Hasan (Aytach)  UKHL 22,  2 A.C. 467 considered. Duress involved pressure which arose in extreme circumstances, the threat of death or serious injury, which would include rape, and which could not be reasonably evaded. The evidence available to X's legal advisers, once she had decided to tell the truth, provided a great deal of mitigation but no viable defence of duress. X had never suggested to her legal advisers or to the police that when she falsely retracted her truthful complaints she was acting under the threat of violence from H. X had asserted to police that she had been raped more than once and treated with violence. If she had been threatened with violence if she did not withdraw the complaint it was inconceivable that she would not have said so at the time. Accordingly, the defence of duress was not realistically available and no responsible counsel would have advised her that the case should be contested on that basis (see paras 62-64, 70 of judgment). (2) The CPS policy in place at the time of the offence focussed on the withdrawal of support for the prosecution where a victim suffered domestic violence. The policy did not cover the fabrication of false retractions; that gap had been directly addressed as a result of the instant case by the new CPS guidance. Whilst, if that guidance had been in place at the time X pleaded guilty, she might not have been have been prosecuted there had been no abuse of process. Guidance issued by the CPS could not, as a matter of law, create any immunity or defence. The guidance reflected the considerations relevant in an individual case to the exercise of prosecutorial discretion. If the exercise was conscientiously undertaken the sole question for the court was whether the offence had been committed. It was not the court's function to substitute its own view for that of the CPS about whether there should be a prosecution, DPP v Humphrys (Bruce Edward)  A.C. 1 considered. After conviction it was unrealistic for fresh legal advisors to attempt to reconstruct a different series of facts which might have led the CPS to reach a different decision. There had been no contravention of prosecutorial policy in existence at the time and a prosecution which did not constitute an abuse of process at the date of conviction could not acquire that characteristic on the basis of new or amended prosecutorial guidance. X was guilty of a serious crime from which police officers did all they reasonably could to dissuade her and the court was not entitled to interfere with the conviction (paras 77, 79-80, 83, 85-86, 88).
Judge: Lord Judge, L.C.J.; Silber, J.; Maddison, J.
2. R. v Michelle Kelly Vine  EWCA Crim 1860
Lord Justice Elias , Mr Justice Wyn Williams and Sir David Clarke :
Four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment upheld for perverting the course of justice, where a woman made false allegations of rape against nine men.
The applicant pleaded guilty on rearraignment to perverting of the course of justice. The applicant, a woman aged 26, met a young man and eventually had sexual intercourse with him and with a number of his friends. On a later occasion she had sexual intercourse with the man at his home and then went with him to a flat where a number of other men had sexual relations with her. She subsequently complained that she had been raped by a number of men and gave an account of both episodes. As result of her complaint, a total of nine men were arrested on suspicion of rape, including two who had not been involved in any of the earlier incidents. Subsequent police investigations led them to the conclusion that all sexual activity had been consensual. The applicant was interviewed and admitted that she had made up the allegations to punish the men for how they had treated her. She admitted that all the sexual contact had taken place with her consent. Sentenced to four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.
Held: the sentencing judge referred to the waste of public funds which resulted from the applicant’s complaint and the impact of the incident on the men who had *443 been arrested. The sentencing judge also referred to the fact that false allegations of rape could create a risk that women who had genuinely been raped would not be believed. The sentencing judge indicated that he gave the applicant full credit for her plea of guilty, which indicated that he would have had in mind following a contested trial a sentence between six-and-a-half and seven years. It was submitted for the applicant that the sentence was manifestly excessive, and failed to make adequate allowance for her personal mitigation, her learning difficulties and her pregnancy. Reference was made to Beeton  EWCA Crim 1421;  1 Cr. App. R. (S.) 46 (p.253) and McKenning  EWCA Crim 2301;  1 Cr. App. R. (S.) 106 (p.597). In the Court’s view, the present case was different in scale from either of those cases, because nine men underwent the humiliation fear, anxiety and loss of reputation arising from an accusation of rape. The Court was satisfied that the sentence was justifiably severe and not manifestly excessive and the application for leave to appeal would be refused.
3. R. v Brustenga-Vilaseca (Maria Rosario)  EWCA Crim 1099
Summary: A sentence of six months' imprisonment was appropriate in the case of a complainant who had made up an allegation that she had been raped by a stranger to cover her shame at having had sex at a party. The case was unusual in that she had not identified an attacker and had not foreseen that anybody would be arrested.
Abstract: The appellant (B) appealed against a sentence of 16 months' imprisonment imposed following her plea of guilty to doing an act tending and intended to pervert the course of justice. B had made an allegation of rape. She told the police that she had been attacked by a stranger in a park, underwent forensic and medical examinations and agreed to take part in an identification procedure. Though she had internal injuries, she had not been raped. She had attended a party where she had drunk alcohol and had sex. Three days after making her complaint she asked for the investigation to stop. She made two more such requests over the following few days, but the truth did not emerge for some two weeks. By that time a large-scale investigation had been put in motion, involving 50 members of police staff and taking up at least 3,000 hours of police time. A man had been arrested and had spent 17.5 hours in custody. In sentencing, the judge referred to the consequences for the wrongly-arrested man, and the fact that false allegations of rape increased the plight of genuine victims and damaged the administration of justice. B was a Spanish national of impeccable character who had had a strict Catholic upbringing. She was afraid of her parents' reaction to her having attended a party, let alone to her having had pre-marital sex.
Appeal allowed. B's case was an unusual one. It was unlike the usual false allegations of rape in that she had not identified an attacker and presumably had not foreseen anybody's arrest. She was simply transferring whatever happened at the party into an anonymous rape elsewhere. The combination of that fact and the personal factors in her mitigation suggested that despite the aggravating features the judge had taken the wrong approach. While an immediate custodial sentence was inevitable for such a false accusation, the appropriate level was less than in the usual case. The 16-month sentence would therefore be quashed and would be replaced with one of six months' imprisonment.
Judge: Toulson, L.J.; Keith, J.; Judge Bevan Q.C.
Summary: Where a woman had been convicted of perverting the course of justice after retracting a truthful allegation against her husband, it might be appropriate, depending on the nature of the relationship between the woman and her husband, for the sentencing court to allow for the pressures to which the woman had been subjected.
Abstract: The appellant (R), who had pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice, appealed against her sentence of eight months' imprisonment. R had retracted a truthful allegation that she had been raped on several occasions by her husband. The allegation was retracted some two months after it was made. As a result of R's change of stance, proceedings against her husband were discontinued. R told the author of the pre-sentence report that, following her husband's arrest and his remand in custody, she had felt an immense sense of guilt; she believed that the issue of divorce proceedings would be sufficient for her purposes and so she decided to withdraw her complaint; when her husband was released on bail, he contacted her; she was in an emotional and very confused state at the time; she had suffered years of domestic abuse and was very fearful of her husband but, wanting to give her children a family Christmas at which their father was present, she continued to communicate with him; that created an immense pressure on her; her husband sought to persuade her to retract her original statement and, owing to a fear of repercussions, she had agreed.
Appeal allowed. Perverting the course of justice was not confined to making and pursuing false allegations or giving false evidence, which was always a very serious offence. It extended to the retraction of truthful allegations or truthful evidence. Those offences, too, could sometimes be, and should be treated as, offences of great seriousness. That said, the difference between the culpability of the person who instigated a false complaint against an innocent man and the person who retracted a truthful allegation against a guilty man would often be very marked. Experience showed that the withdrawal of a truthful complaint of crime committed in a domestic environment usually stemmed from pressures, sometimes direct, sometimes indirect, sometimes immensely subtle, which were consequent on the nature of the individual relationship and the characters of those involved. Where a woman had been raped, and raped more than once by her husband or partner, the father of her children, the man in whom she was entitled to repose her trust, those actions reflected, and were often meant to reflect, manifestations of dominance, power and control. When those features of a relationship were established, it was an inevitable consequence that the woman who had been so ill-treated became extremely vulnerable. Of course it was better for a truthful complaint to be pursued, but if the proposal that it should be withdrawn was not accepted, leading to a positive retraction and an assertion that the original complaint was untrue, and the complainant was then prosecuted to conviction, the sentencing court, when assessing culpability, should recognise and allow for the pressures to which the truthful complainant in such a relationship had been exposed, and should be guided by a broad measure of compassion for a woman who had already been victimised. The sentence for perverting the course of justice normally was, and would normally continue to be, a custodial sentence. However, this was an exceptional case, and it would be appropriate to substitute a community sentence with a supervision order for the sentence that had been imposed (see paras 19-23 of judgment).
Judge: Lord Judge, L.C.J.; Calvert Smith, J.; Griffith Williams, J.
5. R. v England (Rosanne)  EWCA Crim 1408; 
Summary: A sentence of 12 months' imprisonment was appropriate where the appellant had made up an allegation that she had been raped by a stranger which resulted in an innocent man being arrested and detained. Although the sentencing judge had rightly identified aggravating features, it was apparent from the psychiatric evidence that at the time of the offence the appellant's mind might not have fully accompanied her acts because of her dissociative state.
Abstract: The appellant (R) appealed against a sentence of 18 months' imprisonment imposed following her guilty plea to doing an act tending and intended to pervert the course of justice by making a false complaint of rape. R alleged that a stranger had knocked at her door, asked to use the telephone and that he had then raped her. She gave a detailed description of her alleged offender to the police and a major investigation was launched. Shortly afterwards, a man who matched the description given by R was arrested and detained. Intimate samples were taken from him. Following further interviews with R, discrepancies appeared in her account and she eventually admitted that her entire allegation was false. The police investigation lasted 24 days and involved 73 members of staff. The arrested man had spent 28.5 hours in custody. R pleaded guilty on the basis that at the time of her allegation she was suffering psychiatric problems, that she did not know the arrested man, name any perpetrator nor give a description of a person she actually knew. Psychiatric evidence before the court stated that R had commenced the offence whilst in a dissociative state, apparently suffering from temporary insanity. In sentencing, the judge identified as aggravating features the element of advanced planning, the convincing complaint, the fact that an innocent man of good character had been arrested and subject to searches, the waste of time and costs to the police, the impact on public confidence and jurors hearing genuine cases and the impact on genuine rape victims. By way of mitigation the judge had regard to the fact that R was aged 20 at the time of the offence and was of previous good character. R submitted that the judge had erred in finding an aggravating feature of planning in light of her basis of plea and the psychiatric evidence. R further argued that the judge had failed to reflect the fact that the offence did not involve a malicious allegation against a known individual, and that thus the sentence should have been distinguished from those that did.
Appeal allowed. Sentencing in cases such as the instant case covered a wide spectrum but, save where the offender was suffering from the most acute mental illness, would always involve immediate imprisonment. The longest sentences were reserved for those cases where an innocent man had been maliciously targeted and it was accepted that that aggravating feature was not present. That did not detract from those aggravating features which were found rightly to exist. Attention seeking women had to be deterred from behaviour which had the potential to destroy innocent lives and waste police resources. It was apparent from the basis of plea and the psychiatric evidence that at the time of the offence R's mind might not have fully accompanied her acts because of her dissociative state. In those circumstances, giving full credit for her personal mitigation, the correct sentence following a trial would have been 18 months' imprisonment. Accordingly R's sentence was reduced to one of 12 months' imprisonment.
Judge: Pitchford, L.J.; Bean, J.; Judge Goldstone
6. R. v Day (Jennifer Sylvia)  EWCA Crim 2445
Summary: A sentence of two years' imprisonment imposed on an offender following her conviction for an offence of perverting the course of justice by making a false allegation of rape against her boyfriend was appropriate in light of her not guilty plea and the impact of such allegations upon the minds of jurors trying rape cases.
Abstract: The appellant (D) appealed against a sentence of two years' imprisonment imposed following her conviction for perverting the course of justice. D had made a complaint that she had been raped by her boyfriend (S). S, who denied the offence, was arrested and detained. The police later received information that S had not entered D's house on the day in question and that D had previously made a false allegation of rape against another man. D subsequently admitted that the allegation against S was untrue. However, she pleaded not guilty at her trial, the essence of her defence being that at the time she made the complaint, she believed it to be true. A neurologist stated that D had been suffering from concussion on the evening of the incident by reason of a blow to the head, and raised the possibility of confabulation. The jury, however, rejected that explanation. D had no previous convictions and a good work record. She had a five-year-old daughter, but had had problems with alcohol since the breakdown of her relationship with her daughter's father. A psychiatrist's report suggested that D had personality difficulties and suffered from recurrent depressive episodes.
Appeal dismissed. D was far from well when she made her complaint. It was not clear whether she was depressed or suffering from a personality disorder, epilepsy or concussion, but she had been abusing alcohol to a very serious degree and it appeared that she had reached a stage where she had difficulty discerning the difference between truth and falsity. Further, she had faced many personal difficulties: problems with her health; the breakdown of her relationship with her daughter's father; weight and hair loss; and depression. She had a good work record and had made an apology to S in open court. However, an immediate custodial sentence was inevitable when a false allegation of rape was made. D's allegation was not only an offence against S. Such allegations attacked the criminal justice system. They diverted scarce and expensive police resources and, in the instant case, a decent, respectable and kind man had spent 10 hours in custody as a result. Moreover, false complaints of rape necessarily affected the minds of jurors trying rape cases. Every time a defendant stood trial for rape, defence counsel necessarily pointed out to jurors that false allegations were made and allegations such as that made in the instant case drove yet another nail into the conviction rate. The judge had had that in mind when passing sentence. Further, in each of the authorities relied on by D the offender had pleaded guilty and, although no credit for a guilty plea had been given, each offender had, by her plea, demonstrated not only remorse but an acceptance of full responsibility for the false allegation, R. v McKenning (Zara Louise)  EWCA Crim 2301,  1 Cr. App. R. (S.) 106 and R. v Beeton (Elizabeth)  EWCA Crim 1421,  1 Cr. App. R. (S.) 46 considered. The sentence imposed was well measured and entirely appropriate.
Judge: Rafferty, J.; Henriques, J.
7. R. v McKenning (Zara Louise)  EWCA Crim 2301
Summary: A sentence of two years' imprisonment imposed for an offence of perverting the course of justice by making a false allegation of rape was within the appropriate sentencing range.
Abstract: The applicant (M) applied for leave to appeal against a sentence of two years' imprisonment imposed following her plea of guilty to doing an act tending or intending to pervert the course of justice. M claimed that she had been raped by a man (H). She said that he had drugged her drink in a pub, taken her to her home and violently raped her. H was arrested and interviewed and there followed a police investigation which lasted some three months. As a result of the investigation it became apparent that M had lied, and that in fact she and H had had consensual sex. When confronted, M admitted that she had lied, saying that she had done so because she was afraid that her boyfriend would discover that she had had sex with H and would be violent towards her. She pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. A pre-sentence report indicated that she posed a low risk of reoffending. It indicated that she was remorseful and had acted as she did because she was immature and had had a complete lack of understanding of the grave consequences of her lie. In sentencing, the judge addressed the serious policy issue raised by the offence and pointed out that when the public knew that people like M falsely claimed that they had been raped, that would affect the minds of jury members when dealing with the evidence of genuine victims. M submitted that the judge had failed to take sufficient account of her guilty plea and previous good character.
Application refused. The judge's approach was endorsed. Of its kind, the instant offence was a very serious one. Rape was a shameful crime and merited heavy punishment. However, it was frequently very difficult to prove. Also, when a defendant was truly innocent, a false allegation could be extremely difficult for him to refute. Both the investigation and prosecution of rape cases presented the police and the Crown Prosecution Service with highly sensitive and difficult decisions. The consequences for an innocent man against whom an allegation was made were very serious. In the instant case there was sufficient independent evidence to show that H was truly innocent, and in that respect he was fortunate. Nevertheless, during the three-month investigation his life must have had a nightmarish quality. Quite apart from H, the allegation involved more than the individual victim. Every false allegation increased the plight of those women who had been the victims of rape. It made the offence harder to prove and, rightly concerned to avoid the conviction of an innocent man, a jury might find itself unable to be sufficiently sure to return a guilty verdict. The offence had caused great problems for H but had also damaged the administration of justice in general in the sensitive area of rape. The sentence imposed fell within the appropriate range.
Judge: Lord Judge, L.C.J.; Owen, J.; Christopher Clarke, J.
8. R. v Beeton (Elizabeth)  EWCA Crim 1421
Summary: The consequence of a false allegation of rape would almost inevitably be a custodial sentence. Concurrent sentences of four years’ imprisonment on four counts of perverting the course of justice by making false allegations of rape against a man and a 17-year-old youth were quashed and replaced by concurrent sentences of three years' imprisonment.
Abstract: The appellant (B) appealed against concurrent sentences of four years' imprisonment on four counts of perverting the course of justice. B had made four false allegations of rape against a man and a 17-year-old youth. She did not plead guilty until the first day of her trial. The first count related to a period between September 2004 and January 2005 when B claimed that the men had forced their way into her flat and raped her so many times that she had lost count. Both men were arrested, kept in custody overnight and required to give various intimate samples, none of which produced any forensic evidence to support the claim. Both men denied the allegation and explained that they hardly knew B. The other three counts related to allegations of rape against the 17-year-old in June and July 2005, none of which were forensically supported. In relation to two of those counts, the youth was arrested and interviewed and required to provide intimate samples. Alibis were also investigated. There was no arrest in response to the final allegation. B did not provide an adequate explanation as to why she had made the allegations. She believed the rapes to have occurred, even though she accepted that her belief had no foundation in fact. Psychiatric evidence referred to a mixed personality disorder and emotional instability and tests suggested conscious or unconscious exaggeration of any cognitive difficulties she might suffer from. In his sentencing remarks, the judge had given full credit for guilty pleas and previous good character, but had noted as aggravating factors the fact that her course of conduct had lasted several months and the damage done to the victims. B submitted that the overall sentence was manifestly excessive having regard to her psychiatric and psychological make-up, her domestic circumstances, in particular her two young children, and her guilty pleas.
Appeal allowed. The offences to which B had pleaded guilty were very serious indeed. Although the men had not been detained in custody for long, the impact, particularly on the youth, of what amounted to a sustained vendetta by a manipulative woman had been very profound. The youth's age was an important feature. The consequence of a false allegation of rape would almost inevitably be a custodial sentence. The essential question was whether the two aggravating features, namely the persistent course of conduct and the fact that there were two victims, justified a four-year period of imprisonment. There was also another important factor: it was extremely easy to make an allegation of rape without there being any foundation for it whatsoever and it was also inevitable that such an allegation would be taken very seriously by the police. Authorities illustrated that false allegations of rape were not particularly rare. That fact had undoubtedly entered the public consciousness and, perversely, had the effect of increasing the likelihood of guilty men going free. Nevertheless, the sentence of four years' imprisonment on a guilty plea was too long and was replaced with one of three years' imprisonment, R. v Fletcher (Clare)  EWCA Crim 3284,  2 Cr. App. R. (S.) 24 considered.
Judge: Scott Baker, L.J.; Burnett, J.; Judge Roberts Q.C.
9. R. v Thomas (Kerry Ann)  EWCA Crim 412
Summary: A sentence of 32 months' imprisonment following a guilty plea to doing an act tending and intended to pervert the course of justice was replaced by a sentence of 18 months' imprisonment where a woman had had casual consensual sexual intercourse with a man and had maintained a flagrant lie that she had been raped, to the extent that two men had been wrongly arrested and one had lost his job.
Abstract: The appellant (T) appealed against a sentence of 32 months' imprisonment following a guilty plea to doing an act tending and intended to pervert the course of justice. Whilst eating at an Indian restaurant with her partner and daughter, T had met and flirted with another man (M), which resulted in their having sex in a nearby alley. T became embarrassed when it became clear that male staff at the restaurant had observed them and were amused. T returned to her table and, without discussing it in any way, phoned the police on her mobile phone alleging that she had been raped by an Asian male. A large-scale investigation had taken place that night and, the next day, an innocent bartender at the restaurant had been arrested, placed in custody for six hours and subjected to the usual medical investigations. He lost his job at the restaurant and lost some standing in the local community. Two days later T agreed to a press release to try to find the offender and M came forward and gave his side of the story, following which T was arrested. During two interviews, she maintained her account of rape, but during the third she admitted that her account was untrue. She gave no explanation for her lies other than that it was maybe a plea for help. The pre-sentence report indicated that she had consumed six pints of alcohol during the evening and that her report to the police had been on the spur of the moment, after which she had become too embarrassed to face the truth. In sentencing her, the recorder found that she had told a flagrant lie and had maintained it even when confronted with clear evidence. He observed that the case had wider implications for genuine victims and that significant resources had been deployed when the police had been particularly busy. He also took into consideration the fact that two men had been wrongly arrested and subjected to medical examination and one of them had lost his job. He gave her credit for a guilty plea and reduced the amount of the sentence he considered appropriate by one third. T submitted that the sentence was excessive.
Appeal allowed. T was guilty of a totally irresponsible action, which had had significant and detrimental effects on the lives of two men. She had spurned a number of opportunities to correct matters and had wasted valuable police time and effort. Taking into account her own personal difficulties and problems, such as the significant quantity of drink she had consumed and the fact that only one of her children was on speaking terms with her after the incident, the sentence was too long. The appropriate sentence was one of 18 months' imprisonment and that term was substituted for the sentence originally passed.
Judge: Thomas, L.J.; Stadlen, J.; Judge Barker Q.C. (Common Serjeant of London)
10. R. v Nazifi (Elida)  EWCA Crim 1743
Summary: Fifteen months' imprisonment was reduced to six months for a mother of a two-year-old boy who made a false allegation of rape against a man who owed her money.
Abstract: The appellant (N), who had pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice, appealed against her sentence of 15 months' imprisonment. After a man failed to repay her a loan, N made a false complaint to the police that he had raped her. He was arrested and spent 20 hours in custody. N had a two-year-old son.
Appeal allowed. The authorities demonstrated that an immediate custodial term for this type of offence was invariably required whatever the personal circumstances of the woman making the false complaint. However, those circumstances could be taken into account when assessing the length of sentence. Four months' imprisonment would have been an appropriate sentence, had it not been for the aggravating feature that N's complaint had a financial motive, R. v Merritt (Lisa Anne)  EWCA Crim 2313,  1 Cr. App. R. (S.) 105 and R. v Gregson (Kathleen Mary) (1993) 14 Cr. App. R. (S.) 85 considered. Her sentence would therefore be reduced to six months' imprisonment.
Judge: Scott Baker, L.J.; Mitting, J.; Judge Barker Q.C.
11. R. v Fletcher (Clare)  EWCA Crim 3284
Summary: Perverting the course of justice; False statements; False allegation of rape; Seriousness of charges faced by suspect
Abstract: The appellant (F) appealed against a sentence of two years' imprisonment imposed after she pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice. F made a statement to the police alleging that she had been raped by a former partner (S). F was forensically examined and, while the examination tended to support the allegation that she had been raped, it did not support the case against S. Six months later F was arrested and admitted in interview that S had not raped her. Instead F claimed that she had in fact been raped by another former partner (H), but that she had named S because she was terrified that H would harm her. At a later date F was re-interviewed about that allegation and claimed that nothing she had said in the previous interview had been true. F argued that the sentence was too high.
Appeal dismissed. The evidence supporting the fact that F had been raped was a matter which attracted considerable sympathy. However, that evidence also made the allegation against S all the more serious and more likely to have succeeded before a jury if it had been persisted in. Had S been convicted he could have faced a sentence of around six years' imprisonment. The sentence imposed was relatively high, but given the seriousness of the matter, it could not be said to be manifestly excessive.
Judge: Maurice Kay, L.J.; Sir Douglas Brown
12. R. v Merritt (Lisa Anne)  EWCA Crim 2313;
Abstract: The appellant (M) appealed against a sentence of 10 months' imprisonment following her plea of guilty to an offence of perverting the course of justice. M had made a false allegation of rape against her husband, from whom she had been separated for about five months. He had consequently been detained in custody for nine hours and released on bail for three weeks before the decision was made that no further action would be taken. The husband had established that he was elsewhere when the alleged rape had taken place. He also disclosed a text message received from M the same evening as the alleged rape, which stated that she intended to ensure that he would be put in prison for 18 years. M had admitted to the falsity of the allegation, stating revenge for previous physical assaults as her motive. Although a pre sentence report had recommended a non custodial sentence because of the low risk of reoffending, the judge had found the offence to be sufficiently serious to warrant a custodial sentence. M had also been found to be suffering from a number of psychological problems including a dependency on alcohol and a predisposition to behave very impulsively. M submitted that (1) a custodial sentence was wrong in principle; (2) if a custodial sentence was appropriate, a sentence of 10 months was manifestly excessive in the light of her early admission to the plea, her expression of remorse, her psychological and personal state at the time of the offence, the lack of premeditation, the short period for which the allegation was sustained, and the fact that her husband had not faced trial or adverse publicity.
Held, allowing the appeal in part, that (1) a custodial sentence would almost always follow an offence of the instant type R. v Goodwin (Sarah Jane) (1989) 11 Cr. App. R. (S.) 194 and R. v Kyriakou (Georgina) (1990-91) 12 Cr. App. R. (S.) 603 applied. (2) On the facts, 10 months' imprisonment was too long and was reduced to four months. The offence was more than an act of stupidity and weakness; it was an act of wickedness with an element of pre planning. Even though the victim was not charged, and even though M refused to implicate him in a written statement, she had nevertheless maintained the allegation for three weeks, which must have been extremely unpleasant for the victim. The reduction in sentence was based on aspects of personal mitigation, the fact that she had been in a mental and personal turmoil at the time of the offence, and on the guilty plea.
Judge: Scott Baker, L.J.; Davis, J.; David Clarke, J.
13. R. v Kyriakou (Georgina) (1990-91) 12 Cr. App. R. (S.) 603
Abstract: K pleaded guilty to doing an act intended to pervert the course of justice. She had sexual intercourse with a man who worked for the same employer then complained that he had raped her. She made a detailed statement to the police and the man was arrested then detained in custody for 12 days. K later admitted that her complaint was false. K was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment.
Held, that the case was distinguishable from Goodwin, where it was the endeavours of police which resulted in the allegation of rape being withdrawn. In the circumstances the sentence was reduced to six months' imprisonment (R. v Goodwin (Sarah Jane) (1989) 11 Cr. App. R. (S.) 194 distinguished).
Judge: Watkins, L.J.; Buckley, J.; MacPherson, J.
14. R. v Sarah Jane Louise Goodwin (1989) 11 Cr. App. R. (S.) 194
( The Lord Chief Justice , Mr. Justice McCowan and Mr. Justice Potts ):
Three years' detention in a young offender institution for attempting to pervert the course of justice by making a false allegation of rape, as a result of which a man was detained in custody for 14 days, reduced to 18 months.
The appellant, a woman of 20, pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice. She had made a complaint to the police that she had been raped, making a full statement and naming a particular man. The man was later arrested and held in custody for 14 days. The appellant subsequently admitted that her allegation was not true. Sentenced to three years' detention in a young offender institution.
Held, it was necessary to make people realise that this sort of lie would be met with severe punishment, but that had to be balanced against the age of the appellant *195 and the circumstances in which she made the complaint. The sentence could be reduced to 18 months' detention in a young offender institution.