Conspiracy: Marital Exemption and Polygamy

AuthorDamian Warburton
Date01 August 2016
Publication Date01 August 2016
SubjectCourt of Appeal
show that criminal history is indeed an aggravating factor, and often a sentence premium will be imposed
on repeat or persistent offenders. Indeed, an offender’s record may—in some cases—justify the imposi-
tion of a sentence beyond the normal range prescribed by the relevant sentencing guidelines for that type
of offence. However, if the purpose of s.143(2) was to place such importance on prior record so as to lead
the sentencing court to depart from proportionality constraints and effectively sentence on the basis of
prior record, this does not appear to be happening in practice. Where such heavily uplifted sentences are
imposed by the sentencing court, they are unlikely to be upheld on appeal.
Finally, in relation to the question of whether the sentences in the present case should have been
ordered to run concurrently or consecutively, there exists a general principle that consecutive terms of
imprisonment should not generally be imposed in respect of offences which arise out of a single incident
(see for example RvNoble [2002] EWCA Crim 1713 ). However, according to Lord Judge CJ in
Attorney General’s Reference No. 57 of 2009 [2009] EWCA Crim 2555 (at para 28), ‘examples abound
of occasions where consecutive sentences are justifiably imposed ...[This tends to occur where] distinct
offences are committed in circumstances where the offences, although distinct, can properly be said to
increase the relevant criminality.’ There is therefore some judicial support both for the judge’s decision
to impose consecutive sentences in this case, and the Court of Appeal’s reversal of this in favour of
concurrent sentences. RvJones (1975) (unreported) involved facts not wholly dissimilar to those
presented in the current case. The appellant had committed burglary with intent to steal and thereupon
used violence against the occupier of the premises who had interrupted his offence. The Court of Appeal
held that these offences did not form part of the same transaction and so the sentences could rightly be
ordered to run consecutively.
Gary Betts
Conspiracy: Marital Exemption and Polygamy
RvBala and others [2016]
EWCA Crim 560
Conspiracy, compellability of spouses, s. 80 Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, Civil Partnership Act 2004
Dr Yilkyes Bala, a Nigerian, married Mrs Rosemary Bala in 1985 in Nigeria, and in 1997, also in
Nigeria, polygamously married Mrs Giwo Bala-Tonglele. These were both lawful marriages in that
country. Dr Bala became domiciled in the UK in 1993, and repeated his 1985 marriage in England in
1996. His marriage to Mrs Rosemary Bala was still in effect at the point of his marriage to Mrs Giwo
Bala-Tonglele, and remained so at the time of the judgment. It is relevant that at all material times Mrs
Giwo Bala-Tonglele was never domiciled in England or Wales.
Dr Bala established a security company in England in 1989 that by the point of trial was known as
Armour Group. Mrs Rosemary Bala was a director. The Balas’ business was very successful, and
relied upon a large number of foreign nationals to sustain that success. Until 2005 the security industry
was unregulated, but following the establishment of the Security Industry Authority in that year,
Armour Group needed to acquire and retain approved status. As part of meeting that obligation,
purportedly on behalf of individuals who had been granted asylum, it submitted applications to the
226 The Journal of Criminal Law 80(4)

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