Chris Johnston secures reduced sentence for deaf client at Court of Appeal

Christopher Johnston
Christopher Johnston February 21, 2017

Following a refusal of leave to appeal sentence from the single judge, an application for leave to appeal sentence was lodged before the full court where counsel appeared pro bono. The case concerned a profoundly deaf defendant who had been sentenced in a conspiracy to defraud the DWP, aligned with a similar separate conspiracy to defraud the DWP with members of his own family. The client was the financial officer of a deaf interpreter organisation, which was run fraudulently by his employer and his employer’s wife. The amount defrauded from the DWP was approximately £645, 000 and his own separate fraud netted £72,000. The court granted leave to appeal and moved to grant the appeal against sentence in the absence of the appellant. The sentence of 40 months’ imprisonment for Chris Johnston‘s client was reduced to 30 months to reflect the unique difficulties faced by prisoners who are profoundly deaf, which were more acutely evident by the time of the appeal. This was the only successful sentence appeal following the trial of several defendants in the same case.

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