Wednesday, July 18

Oxford student’s appeal for a reduced sentence has been refused

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Lavinia Woodward’s sentence appeal permission was refused. The Oxford University student was described as “extraordinary” and went to court for stabbing and attacking her then boyfriend has been denied appealing her sentence.

Her sentence was a 10-month suspended jail sentence. Despite avoiding prison after pleading guilty to unlawful wounding, Woodward tried to appeal her case at the Court of Appeal. Yesterday, however, her application was rejected. She could still apply to have her case heard by a full court of two or three judges. Judge Ian Pringle QC suspended the sentence as he believed that an immediate custody would damage her career prospects of becoming a surgeon.

This case has been controversial and last year it sparked outrage as the judge was accused of giving Woodward preferential treatment because of her academic credentials. The case incited a debate about inequality in the criminal justice system.

Judge Pringle said there were “many mitigating features” in the case and that she had shown “a strong and unwavering determination” to rid herself of her addictions. She has voluntarily suspended her studies at Oxford until the end of her sentence. She will face a disciplinary procedure when or if she returns to the university and may face expulsion. It was also thought that she may leave the university completely voluntarily. James Sturman QC, her legal counsel, said that Woodward was reluctant to return as she was worried at being recognised.

An unnamed friend said that Woodward had a lot of support of senior figures at Christ Church College and academics recognised her as a “potential Nobel Prize winner”. The friend continued to say that the colleagues would probably be happy to have her back, as she has done some interesting work in cardiology. Woodward was also thinking about continuing to do a DPhil at Oxford.

Martyn Percy, the dean of Christ Church, said: “I do not think [Woodward] is getting special treatment”.

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About Author

Nadine is a hybrid British-Egyptian, working to complete the International and European law bachelor, with a public international law and human rights specialisation, in The Hague. Her interests also lie in family law, alternative dispute methods, and transnational issues. She joined Legal Loop in August 2017.

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