11th June 2018

There has been a lot of interest in the case of Lavinia Woodward – the Oxford medical student who stabbed her boyfriend in the leg during a drink and drug fuelled argument in December 2016. She was given a deferred sentence – a decision that indicated she may be spared prison by allowing her time to comply with a detox requirement – in May 2017 but later sentenced to ten months in prison which was suspended for 18 months. There has been, and continues to be, widespread criticism of the justice system and allegations that Ms Woodward was treated unfairly leniently in being spared prison.

Ms Woodward seems to have had a different view however, as she later appealed that sentence. The basis of her appeal is unknown but we can assume that Ms Woodward claimed that the sentence was too harsh. Her appeal was heard by three judges at the Court of Appeal on Friday 8 June 2018, with Judge Johanna Cutts acknowledging that Ms Woodward had “powerful mitigation” but refusing the appeal, stating that the offence itself was so serious it “merited a custodial element to the sentence”. The Judge ruled that the sentence imposed was “constructive and compassionate” considering both of these factors.

In response to losing her appeal, Ms Woodward has reportedly stated that she will never become a heart surgeon as she had initially planned whilst studying at Oxford.


Blog by Sophie Cohen, Criminal Defence Solicitor