/ Lavinia Woodward

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Yanis Nayu - on 07 Dec 2017
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-42265869

This was discussed on here a while back - the leniency of her sentence. She’s now sought leave to appeal.

I guess that’s what privilege does for you.
JEF on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

She might lose and end up in prison.
Yanis Nayu - on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to JEF:

Is there a legal mechanism where that could happen?
JEF on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

I don’t know. Presumably if you appeal against a suspended sentence and lose the remaining option is prison.
ben b - on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

There's an awful lot of hyperbole about this case. Doubtless media interest would have been very different if she wasn't young and attractive. The baying for prison from some quarters is particularly unpleasant.

The summary of the facts recorded by the Judge is more balanced:

"Having met a few months before, in October 2016 you [the Defendant] began a relationship with a student from Cambridge University. Sadly, you were still suffering from the effects of a very damaging previous relationship with another who had introduced you to class a drugs. You clearly had both drug and alcohol addictions. On 30 December 2016, your partner paid you a visit in your accommodation in Christchurch College in Oxford. It rapidly became clear to him that you had been drinking. He tried to discourage you from continuing your drinking without success. As the evening progressed, you became increasingly volatile. At one stage your partner contacted your mother over Skype in order to seek her assistance over what to do about you. When you discovered this, you became extremely angry, starting to throw objects around. It is clear from the transcript of the 999 call that your partner summoned the help of the police before you picked up a bread knife which was in the room and struck a blow with it to his lower leg. In the course of the incident two of his fingers also received cuts. Your partner managed to partly restrain you, albeit you then started to turn the knife on yourself and he had to further disarm you to prevent further self-harm. When the emergency services arrived it was abundantly clear that you were intoxicated, deeply distraught and mentally disturbed. You were taken to a police station in a very distressed state.”

"Fortunately, the wounds that your partner received were relatively minor. The two 1 cm cuts to the fingers were treated at the scene with steri-strips and the cut to the leg was closed with three stitches"

"When I turn to look, however, for mitigating features the picture is very different. There are many mitigating features in your case. Principally, at the age of 24 you have no previous convictions of any nature whatsoever. Secondly, I find that you were genuinely remorseful following this event and, indeed, although it was against your bail conditions you contacted your partner to fully confess your guilt and your deep sorrow for what happened. Thirdly, whilst you are clearly a highly intelligent individual, you had an immaturity about you which was not commensurate for someone of your age. Fourthly, as the reports from the experts make clear, you suffer from an emotionally unstable personality disorder, a severe eating disorder and alcohol drug dependence. Finally, and most significantly, you have demonstrated over the last nine months that you are determined to rid yourself of your alcohol/drug addiction and have undergone extensive treatment including counselling to address the many issues that you face. In particular, you have demonstrated to me since I adjourned this matter in May a strong and unwavering determination so to do despite the enormous pressure under which you were put and which has been referred to by your learned counsel."

How much of this case is about (white, rich) privilege is less clear. There's a very good article on the Secret Barrister bog about this https://thesecretbarrister.com/2017/09/26/update-an-oxford-medical-student-stabbed-her-boyfriend-wit... (source for the above information) - it is clear that the sentencing was in accordance with legal precedent and guidance.

Perhaps the question is not "was her treatment unduly lenient?" as much as "has the treatment of others been unduly harsh?" - the two are not the same. As I don't know about sentencing for others in similar circumstances (personality disordered substance dependent young people who have no forensic history otherwise) I don't know the answer to that, but I am happy that a long period in jail is not the best way of helping someone in that situation.

b

ClimberEd - on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:


> This was discussed on here a while back - the leniency of her sentence. She’s now sought leave to appeal.

> I guess that’s what privilege does for you.

Actually if you read some rather complicated law blogs they explain quite clearly why he sentence was appropriate (and historically accurate.)

So you can get back in your inverse snobbery box and shut up.
bouldery bits - on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to ClimberEd:


> So you can get back in your inverse snobbery box and shut up.

Your mum can get back in her inverse snobbery box and shut up.

Also you smell like poo bums.

Childish insults all round!!

SAF - on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to ClimberEd:

> Actually if you read some rather complicated law blogs they explain quite clearly why he sentence was appropriate (and historically accurate.)

I think that is the point though, her sentence was probably fair considering the circumstances and background (from wht I've read in legal blogs) and she was very fortunate to have been treated so fairly and by such a balanced and reasoned judge....so why is she now appealing against it, does she think she should have received no sentence at all for stabbing someone?!

Yanis Nayu - on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to ClimberEd:

It wasn’t quite as cut and dried and straightforward as that was it? There was comparison with other cases where it looked like she got off lightly.

She obviously doesn’t see it like that though, hence her appeal, which given the controversy over the leniency of her sentence doesn’t, in my opinion, reflect well on her.
Yanis Nayu - on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to ben b:

You’re discussing the original sentencing which has been done to death. It’s her decision to appeal it that’s the discussion point here.
John Stainforth - on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

Without having attended the entire trial, I don't think it is possible to make valid judgments on the case or the sentencing. The popular press and UKC love to speculate on trials!
ben b - on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

Fair point (although the comments above make it plain that people aren't necessarily that well informed despite that!).

Her legal team must believe there is a basis in law for an appeal. While we might say to ourselves that it makes sense to cut and run (no pun intended) with the suspended sentence, I suspect if I were in the situation of being told by lawyers that the conviction had a chance of being overturned on appeal, I would go with it - the conviction vs no conviction decision is not that tough a choice.

Is it a reflection of privilege? If she has legal access that someone else with a personality disorder and substance abuse issues doesn't then yes, although arguably that's not her fault but rather a reflection of the legal system.

The "extraordinary student" bit irks me greatly. Yes she's out of the ordinary in the sense that most early training med students don't have personality disorders and substance abuse issues. But I have seen no evidence that she's in any way extraordinary academically, and certainly not in terms of her suitability to be a health professional. While I have no issue with rehabilitation and treatment where able (e.g. the substance use disorder), I do feel that having fewer doctors with personality disorders is sensible...

b
sg - on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to ben b:

Quite. I take exception to the judge's use (IIRC) of her 'promising medical career' as some kind of mitigating factor in the decision of whether prison was appropriate. The fact she may have thrown away her career because a conviction would be pretty finite does seem unfair: another individual, in the same circumstances except for the promising career which would be ended by a conviction, presumably wouldn't necessarily get the same treatment. I'm no lawyer and haven't read further but I'm guessing that fact remains something to do with her still hoping to overturn the original ruling.

I too agree with second chances, rehabilitation, ensuring offenders can become a benefit to society etc etc but I'm not sure that (questions of whether the system is flawed or just this particular judgement aside), she isn't being treated differently because she's a promising med student. Without the privilege she would easily be re-characterised as another worthless addict, I'd have thought, and presumably the judge wouldn't view that with the same mitigation.
balmybaldwin - on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to ben b:

Where did you think they get pathologists from?
ben b - on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to sg:

Agree. She's clearly bright (although not necessarily more so than her student peers) and her background has afforded her a degree of assistance in getting her through education into vocational training.

However, on what evidence I have heard she would appear to be a poor fit for her career intentions - putting someone with a personality disorder and substance abuse issues into a profession with a significantly high incidence of burn out, depression, substance abuse and suicide would be an abdication of responsibility to both the individual and their potential patients. If her conviction is overturned, that would still be the case.

b
ben b - on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to balmybaldwin:

Steady - some of my best friends are pathologists ;-)

b
Nevis-the-cat - on 08 Dec 2017


Secret Barrister has a very good blog on this.

Personally, I think the judgement fair. Appealing against it is surprising. Somebody somewhere has been at the cider....


Siward on 08 Dec 2017
In reply to Nevis-the-cat:

Anybody, regardless of privilege, has the right to seek leave to appeal. That doesn't mean she'll get leave- to do so the single judge (of the Court of Appeal, who decide these things) would have to conclude that she had arguable grounds that the sentence was wrong in principle or manifestly excessive. Given that it doesn't appear to have been either of these things, I'd be surprised if she got leave. She's also well out of time (28 days).

Her keenness to appeal may have to do with the effect of having a prison sentence on her record, not always the most attractive thing to employers, might affect working abroad etc.
Andy Hardy on 08 Dec 2017
In reply to balmybaldwin:

> Where did you think they get pathologists from?

Posh garden centres?
Andy Hardy on 08 Dec 2017
In reply to ben b:

Agreed, and furthermore I wouldn't be happy to find the surgeon operating on me had a history of mental illnesses, including drink and drug addictions and eating disorders. But maybe that's because I am a bad man.
Cú Chullain - on 13:23 Fri
In reply to sg:

> Quite. I take exception to the judge's use (IIRC) of her 'promising medical career' as some kind of mitigating factor in the decision of whether prison was appropriate. The fact she may have thrown away her career because a conviction would be pretty finite does seem unfair: another individual, in the same circumstances except for the promising career which would be ended by a conviction, presumably wouldn't necessarily get the same treatment.

I tend to agree, one would think that another individual in court for the same offence who was training to be a HGV driver or hair dresser would not be able to roll out the same mitigation. Which seems a tad unfair.

Andy Johnson - on 15:06 Fri
In reply to JEF:
> Presumably if you appeal against a suspended sentence and lose the remaining option is prison.

I'm not a lawyer, but I'm pretty sure that in that case the original sentence would just stand.
Post edited at 15:11

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