Charlene Hope Bell's sentence changed following appeal in Supreme Court of Western Australia

Charlene Hope Bell, 33, was previously charged with eight counts of stealing as well as, beaching bail, burglary, trespassing, driving without authority, and stealing (breaching a suspended sentence imposed on July 1, 2017). 

The Bunbury Magistrates Court had heard, between October 22 and November 6, 2017, Bell and her partner went to a house in Bunbury and used a key left in the meter box to enter the residence. 

The pair looked through the home but left without taking anything.

She was given bail on September 28, before failing to attend court on October 19 last year. 

Bell was later given an 18 month and one day term of imprisonment – ordered to commence on November 15, 2017 – and a $4000 fine.

She then appealed the sentences for the burglary, trespass and breach of bail offences.

The time within which to bring forward the appeal was extended, before the sentence imposed on the burglary offence was set aside. 

The appeal focused on whether the sentencing magistrate had failed to take Bell’s pleas of guilty into account, whether there was a substantial miscarriage of justice, and whether the sentence of imprisonment imposed for burglary resided in the least serious category of cases. 

In the Supreme Court of Western Australia on June 7, it was found the stealing charge had fallen into the least serious category for this type of offence, and that Bell’s sentence was one half of the maximum penalty (two years).

It was also found that the sentence handed down for the stealing charge could not be backdated.

It was agreed that Bell had pleaded guilty to burglary at the earliest opportunity and that the head sentence should be reduced by 25 per cent.

The incident was deemed a significant miscarriage of justice, and the appeal was granted.

Due to the changes, the sentence for the burglary charge was further reduced by one month.

The sentences for the breach of bail and trespass charges were also amended.

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