Wednesday, 19 September 2007, 4:02 pm
Press Release: NZ Supreme Court
BAKER V R SC 51/2007 [19 September 2007]
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF NEW ZEALAND SC 51/2007  NZSC 76 GEORGE CHARLIE BAKER
THE QUEEN Court: Blanchard, Tipping and McGrath JJ Counsel: C Wilkinson-Smith for Applicant M D Downs for Crown Judgment: 19 September 2007
JUDGMENT OF THE COURT The application for leave to appeal is dismissed. REASONS
 The applicant seeks leave to appeal against the dismissal by the Court of Appeal of his appeal against a minimum period of imprisonment of 18 years associated with a sentence of life imprisonment for murder. The sentence was imposed following a determination that ss 103 and 104 of the Sentencing Act 2002 required a minimum period of imprisonment of at least 17 years. The sentencing Judge adopted a starting point of 20 years which he discounted by two years to allow for a guilty plea at an early stage of the proceedings.
 No question of general sentencing principle arises nor is there any appearance of a miscarriage of justice in the sentence imposed. Indeed, it was well merited for a very brutal and cowardly murder of a vulnerable youth. It is of course the final product of the sentencing process, namely the sentence (or in this case minimum non-parole period) actually imposed, with which an appellate court is primarily concerned. The applicant asserts that he did not receive a sufficient discount but the sentencing Judge could equally well have adopted a higher starting point and thereby arrived at the same result.
Crown Law Office, Wellington