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Regina v. Dosanjh (Court of Appeal, 2014)

Jurisdiction: United Kingdom

Principle law(s): EU Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) (Directive 2003/87/EC establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community and amending Council Directive 96/61/EC)

Side A: Regina (Individual)

Side B: Dosanjh (Individual)

Core objectives: Challenging criminal sentence for cheating the EU ETS

The defendants were involved in manipulation of the EU Emissions Trade Scheme, running companies that formed two artificial ‘trading chains' through which the fraud was operated. They were convicted of the common law offense of conspiring to cheat the public revenue and sentenced to terms of imprisonment of 15 years, 11 years and 9 years, respectively. The defendants appealed the sentences, arguing that (1) it was wrong in principle to pass a sentence which was longer than the maximum penalty available for the equivalent statutory offences or for the cognate common law offence of conspiracy to defraud; and (2) the sentence of 15 years was, on the facts of the case, manifestly excessive. 

The court stated that Parliament had deliberately not decided the offense of cheating the revenue. Parliament had left the offense of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue from statutory charge, both in existence and the penalty at large, because it is of particular seriousness. In assessing whether or not the sentences were manifestly excessive, the court looked at previous decisions of the court and the draft guideline from the Sentencing Council, and noted that: cheating the revenue is a major drain on the public purse, and the defendants' actions were a serious level of offending, with an enormous amount of planning. However, the court determined that those sentences were too high and reduced the sentences to 13 years, 10 years and 8 years.

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