R v Governor of Blundeston Prison Ex parte Gaffney
Citations:  1 WLR 696;  2 All ER 492; (1982) 75 Cr App R 42;  Crim LR 519; (1982) 126 SJ 330;  CLY 706.
The applicant committed two sets of offences in different cities. The applicant was convicted of the first set of offences on the 6th of June 1979. For these offences, he was remanded in custody for 27 days until the 2nd of July. At that point, the court reserved sentence and he was temporarily released.
The applicant was later convicted of the second set of offences on the 4th of October 1979. He was remanded back into custody for these offences. After a further 63 days in custody, the applicant was sentenced for both sets of offences on the 7th of December 1979. He received 37 months in prison for the first set of offences and 36 months for the second set, to be served concurrently.
The applicant applied for writ of habeas corpus. He relied on s.67(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1967, which states that:
‘The length of any sentence of imprisonment imposed on an offender by a court shall be treated as reduced by any period during which he was in custody by reason only of having been committed to custody by an order of a court made in connection with any proceedings relating to that sentence or the offence for which it was passed or any proceedings from which those proceedings arose…’
The applicant argued that this provision allowed him to add both periods he was remanded in custody together (totalling 90 days) and subtract this number from both sentences. This would result in him being released two months before the Home Office had scheduled his release.
- Could the applicant subtract both periods of remand in custody from both sentences?
The court refused the writ. Properly interpreted, s.67(1) only allowed the applicant to subtract the first period of 27 days from the first sentence, and the second period of 63 days from the second sentence. This was because the second period of custody was not ‘in connection with any proceedings relating to’ the first offence, and vice versa.
This Case is Authority For…
Section 67(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1967 only allows prisoners to subtract a period of custody from a sentence if the offence they are being sentenced for is the reason they were remanded in custody for that period. That period cannot be subtracted from sentences for unrelated offences.