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Robbie's Story

In 1983, Robbie committed of a number of sexual offences, including rape. At that time, the maximum sentence for rape was life imprisonment and the rules said that people convicted of rape would serve two-thirds of the sentence they were given before being released without conditions.

In 1995, Robbie was caught and convicted. By then, the rules had changed. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison and was released after serving two-thirds of his sentence but with conditions imposed. Robbie said this breached his Article 7 rights because it meant he received a heavier penalty than he would have done at the time he committed the crime. However, the court said that Robbie could have been given up to life imprisonment even in 1983, so the new rules did not lead to a heavier penalty than was possible at the time he committed the crime. Article 7 was therefore not breached.

(R v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Uttley 2004)

Key information


Right this relates to: 
Article 7: Right not to be punished without law

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