The appellants had been convicted of conspiring to cheat the public revenue. They appealed against the sentences they had received.
Held: the offence of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue retained its established role in the prosecution of revenue cases. It was used to supplement the statutory framework and was recognised as the appropriate charge for the small number of the most serious revenue frauds, where the statutory offences did not adequately reflect the criminality involved and where a sentence at large was more appropriate than one subject to statutory restrictions. These were not ‘ordinary’ cases. The judge chose too high a starting point for the first appellant. The judge placed too much emphasis on R v Randhawa  EWCA Crim 1. There were differences in the level of criminality between the main organisers in Randhawa and the main organisers in this case. The Court appeared to have set the bar for offending of this kind by someone in the appellant’s position, without the aggravating features of Randhawa, at about 13 years. Therefore the sentence of 15 years imposed upon the appellant was too high. The Court reduced the sentence of the first appellant to 13 years, that of the second appellant to 10 years and that of the third appellant to 8 years.
Clare Montgomery QC was involved in this case.