Yes, you read that correct, Mairead Philpott is to appeal her sentence, but not her conviction. The story was apparently released to the media
by her lawyers this Sunday. It was reported by the Daily Mail
as well as the BBC.
What are her chances of success? The answer is, thankfully, very slim. Assuming there are no problems with Legal Aid or her legal team is working pro bono
, her appeal papers will be filed at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, where they will be examined by a judge. If he grants leave, a date will be set for a hearing before three Lords Justice of Appeal.
If the judge turns down the appeal on the papers, the application can be renewed to the full court when again three senior judges will decide whether or not to grant leave. If they refuse, that is the end of the line, otherwise a hearing date will be set.
The precise grounds of her appeal will be drawn up by Counsel, if they haven't been already, but it is difficult to interpret this appeal as anything but frivolous, or perhaps a try-on. Throughout the proceedings she and her two co-defendants maintained their total innocence, even taking the stand in their own defence and telling the jury a pack of lies
Yes, she has lost everything including her entire family, but a boy who murders his parents can't plead for sympathy because he is an orphan. Setting fire to a house in which people are asleep is an act of criminal stupidity of the first magnitude to the seventh power to the ninth order; even a woman of her obviously limited intelligence must have realised that.
The court is likely to give her short shrift in double quick time. Although it does so only in rare cases, it could also order her to forfeit her time spent on remand, so that her sentence would begin over again. In theory, she could also be prosecuted for perjury, something that is extremely unlikely, but she will doubtless have been advised of the possible negative consequences of wasting the time of the court over a crime so heinous that on her eventual release she will probably need to be given a new identity to protect her from those people - especially women - who consider she should never be released.