Szilvia Booker

R. v. R (a child) 18 Feb 2021 Isleworth C/C

In passing a non-custodial sentence in the case of a young person convicted of a series of Category 2A robberies over a six week period leading up to Christmas 2020, counsel Szilvia Booker relied heavily on the findings of an expert in exploitation and a report on the coercive nature of her relationship with her older co-defendant and the circumstances of her abusive and disrupted upbringing. Szilvia was instructed by Anna Ford of IBB Solicitors in a case that pitted co-defendants against each other over their respective roles in a series of admitted group street robberies in West London.

As the exploitation of victims by older and more sophisticated criminals becomes more prevalent, whilst section 45 defences under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 may not apply to certain categories of offending, the principles set out in the two recent (unconnected) cases of VCL and AN v. UK 16 Feb 2021 ECHR makes it plain that whilst there is no general prohibition on the prosecution of victims of trafficking for criminal activities committed by them, especially where the offender is a child, the domestic courts have a duty to take operational measures where there is credible evidence of exploitation, and this includes taking into consideration the findings of an NRM positive finding as part of a sentence under its Treaty obligations to the Palermo Protocol