Keeping Up Is Hard to Do:
A Trial Judge’s Reading Blog


Keeling, R. v [2022] EWCA Crim 178, February 2, 2022, at paragraph 28:

In our judgment, for the purpose of construing the Theft Act 1968 it is necessary to define carefully the meaning of the word “dwelling”, in circumstances where an offence is charged as involving a burglary of a dwelling. For the purposes of understanding the guideline, however, a rather more robust approach should be taken. The court’s task is to identify the seriousness of the offence by considering the culpability involved and the harm which it caused or might foreseeably have caused. As far as Mr Allison is concerned, he was woken up while he was asleep in the bed where he slept every night for four months by three armed and masked men screaming at him, hitting him and demanding his money. For the purposes of assessing the seriousness of that offence, fine distinctions of law as to the meaning of the word dwelling are unhelpful. What happened to him was just as bad having happened in the back of the van which was his habitual resting place at night every night, as it would have been had he been at his home and had the same thing happened to him there. For that reason, when construing the guidelines, we have come to the conclusion, without hesitation, that the judge was wrong to apply the guideline for street and less sophisticated commercial robberies and that the appropriate guideline was that for robbery in a dwelling. That is what actually happened here. It follows from Ms Heeley’s entirely appropriate concession that this sentence was unduly lenient. That may be said to be the straightforward part of this reference.