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Court of Appeal refuses to reduce sentence for part-purged contempts (Smith v Doncaster MBC)

Court of Appeal refuses to reduce sentence for part-purged contempts (Smith v Doncaster MBC)
Published on: 21 January 2014
Published by: LexisPSL
  • Court of Appeal refuses to reduce sentence for part-purged contempts (Smith v Doncaster MBC)
  • Practical implications
  • Facts and Judgment

Article summary

DR analysis: Approving the approach taken in JSC BTA Bank v Solodchenko, the Court of Appeal has confirmed that there are two elements to a committal sentence imposed for breach of an injunction; a punitive element and a coercive element. The appellant sought to be discharged on the ground that, since he was no longer in occupation of the property in relation to which he was in breach of court-ordered injunctions, it was not in his power to comply with the injunction and so ‘purge his contempt’. The Court of Appeal disagreed: it was wrong to assume that the blameworthiness of a defendant's conduct, and similarly the punitive element of a sentence, are fixed when imposed. Persistent failure to comply with an injunction after imposition of a sentence of committal aggravates the gravity of the defendant's conduct, and therefore will increase the weight to be given to the punitive element of the sentence. or take a trial to read the full analysis.

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