William Hughes QC

Foundry Chambers Members successfully appeal the murder sentence of Liam Turner

On 9th July 2019, before Davis LJ, Warby J and HHJ Patton, William Hughes QC successfully argued that Liam Turner's sentence of Life Imprisonment with a minimum term of 16 years was manifestly excessive. In allowing the appeal, the minimum term was reduced to 15 years.

In February 2019, Liam Turner was convicted of murder following a trial at Reading Crown Court. The sole issue was whether at the time of the killing Mr Turner's mental impairment was such as to afford him the partial defence to murder of Diminished Responsibility due to abnormality of his mental functioning. The fact the killing was not in issue was indicated to the Prosecution at a very early stage in the proceedings by Mr Turners' Solicitors Hanisha Godhania and Tom Blackburn of ABV, who instructed William and Neil Griffin to defend. During the trial the Court heard from a total of eight Psychiatrists who gave conflicting medical opinions as to Mr Turner's mental health at the time of the killing.

When passing sentence for murder, the trial Judge gave a reduction in sentence for the early indication that the killing was not disputed of about 7% (1 year). In Grounds of Appeal drafted by William and Neil, who were both greatly assisted by the hard work of Pupil James Gwatkin, it was submitted on behalf of Mr Turner that insufficient credit had been afforded by the sentencing Judge for the early indication. The Court of Appeal agreed, the judgment handed down by Davis LJ indicating that the Sentencing Council Guideline of 1st June 2017 atp paragraph F1 should be followed, namely that where an  early indication is given that the fact of the killing is not disputed, then maximum credit should be afforded on sentence (depending on the facts of the case),  per Sir Brian Leveson P in Markham & Edwards [2017] EWCA Crim 739