R v Saw [2009] EWCA Crim 1

Sentencing guidelines for burglary of occupied dwelling houses for the purposes of sections 170 and 172 Criminal Justice Act 2003.


Five appellants sought leave to appeal their sentences and a sixth appellant appealed against his sentence for burglary of an occupied dwelling house. All appellants sought to argue that in the context of the decision in R v McInerney: R v Keating [2003] 2 CAR (5) 240, their sentences were too severe.


The decision in R v McInerney had been problematic, controversial, difficult to apply and did not amount to definitive sentencing guidelines for burglary of occupied dwelling houses for the purposes of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. Accordingly,R v McInerney would not be followed and the court offered fresh guidelines. The starting point for sentencing those convicted of burglary of an occupied dwelling house is always that it is a serious criminal offence against property and the person. The offence constitutes a violation of a victim’s privacy and security which cannot be calculated in purely financial terms. A non-exhaustive list of aggravating factors leading to longer sentences included the level of trauma experienced by the victim, whether the defendant had deliberately targeted vulnerable victims, and whether the premises had been vandalised. A non-exhaustive list of mitigating factors leading to reduced sentences included genuine regret and remorse on the part of the defendant, nothing having been taken from the property, and the defendant being of good character.


Given the severity of the offences committed and the impact on the victims of the burglaries, the sentences were not excessive, R v McInerney would not be followed, and the applications to appeal were refused and the appeal dismissed.