MP and family call for Gosport thug’s sentence to be reviewed

SENTENCE REVIEW CALL Nina Toseland
SENTENCE REVIEW CALL Nina Toseland

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AN MP is leading the way to get a review of a ‘lenient’ prison sentence given for a crime that left a man with horrific head injuries.

Samuel Armstrong, 19, of Sherwood Road, Gosport, was sentenced to five years and four months in a young offenders’ institution, after pleading guilty to GBH with intent.

Andrew Toseland, 50, is now in a nursing home, and has suffered life-changing injuries, because of the attack.

There have been calls that the sentence is too lenient, and now Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has written to the Attorney General Dominic Grieve for a sentence review.

If Mr Grieve agrees, Armstrong could be re-sentenced.

This kind of appeal recently saw the broadcaster Stuart Hall have his jail sentence for sex attacks doubled from 15 months to 30 months.

Mr Toseland’s mother Nina, 79, of Garland Court, Forton Road, Gosport, thinks the sentence is too light.

She said: ‘I wasn’t very happy with it. He should’ve got longer, he knew what he was doing.

‘Everyone should have seen what Andrew is like now.

‘He can barely speak, and he suffers from short-term memory loss, and can’t walk.

‘Most people I have spoken to have said the sentence is too lenient.

‘We welcome a review into the sentence.’

Ms Dinenage said: ‘I’ve written to the Attorney General’s office after speaking to Nina Toseland.

‘She was keen for us to take it to the AG.

‘The five-year sentence does not meet the crime.

‘Mr Toseland has lost his quality of life. He wasn’t expected to survive, so to me the sentence does seem lenient.’

As previously reported in The News, Mr Toseland and his brother Robert asked rowdy teenagers to be quiet shortly after midnight on August 25, last year outside their mother’s flat.

Armstrong had a scuffle with the Toseland brothers on the eighth floor and went downstairs to get help.

Brandon Fisher, 19, of Old Road, Gosport, was jailed for 27 months after admitting unlawful wounding on the basis he had a subordinate role in the vicious attack.

According to the Sentencing Council, GBH with intent carries a maximum of life sentence.

It is also one the crimes in which a sentence review can be asked for.

Anyone can make the request, but it needs to be made within 28 days of the sentence being passed.

Although Armstrong is 19, anyone aged between 18 to 20, who is given a custodial sentence, is sent to young offenders’ institution, to keep them away from the larger and older prison population.

WHAT IS LOOKED AT WHEN A SENTENCE IS PASSED

FACTORS such as plea entered, the effect of injury inflicted, and character references all play a part in how a sentence is reached.

Ian Robinson is managing partner in Hampshire criminal law firm Churchers Bolitho Way.

He said: ‘When passing a sentence, the judge will be aware of prosecution evidence, and a victim impact statement.

‘There are three categories of sentencing for a crime – low, medium and high.’

Mr Robinson said that the appropriate category is chosen, and then mitigating circumstances can lower the sentence.