Citation – AG Ref (Nos 49 & 50 of 2015) –  EWCA Crim 1402
Date – 9th July 2015
Keywords – Sentence, s25, bogus college, Sentencing Guidelines
Overview – AG Ref allowed as the Sentencing Guidelines for Fraud do not reflect the seriousness of immigration offending
Summary – B and H were convicted after trial of conspiracy to commit a s25 offence. B was a part-time lecturer and H an external examiner.
177 students had submitted applications using false documents. Many were recruited through a company set up by B. Some were aware that they were obtaining false certificates issued by H, others paid course fees and attending lectures believing it to be a genuine and accredited course.
The total amount charged to each beneficiary appeared to have been between £1,500 and £4,000. The Judge estimated the value as around £300,000, or more.
Several students who believed that they were paying for legitimate courses had lost their right to remain, and spent a large sum of money trying to regularise their position.
The conspiracy was over a period of a year
The Judge approached the case on the basis of the Sentencing Guidelines for Fraud and sentenced B to 5 years and 2½ years for H.
The Court of Appeal said that it was simply not appropriate to use the Fraud guidelines, as the case was too serious for that – the usual sentencing guidance should apply and the sentences where increased to 8 years and 5 years.
(1) A useful reminder that the Guidelines do not apply to all cases. In future any such case (even if there is a count on the indictment alleging fraud as there was here) should be approached in light of the Le & Stark guidance.
Judges – Rafferty LJ, Cranstone J, HHJ Taylor