Today Justine McNally walked free after the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) overturned her sentence!
Justine McNally had been granted leave to appeal by the Court of Appeal against both her conviction and her sentence. Her appeal against her sentence focused on whether she had understood the offences with which she had been charged. I feel that there is still a question mark in this area. Nonetheless, the judges upheld Justine’s conviction. However, Justine’s sentence was overturned with Lord Justice Leveson stating that “the sentence was simply far too long”, which is consistent with my views. Lord Justice Leveson is head of the Sentencing Council of England and Wales so should know a thing or two about sentencing :-). Justine was sentenced to nine months imprisonment suspended, a two year supervision order and ten years on the Sex Offenders Registrar.
I personally would like to have seen her conviction quashed and a retrial ordered. This would have addressed the nagging doubt of whether Justine committed any offences at all. However, would this have been in the interests of Justine, her family and friends? They would have had all the inconvenience and stress of a retrial hanging over them. This way the matter is closed and Justine can start to rebuild her life.
Justice has (almost) been done.
[Thanks to Polly Graph for attending the hearing and taking notes.]