Yesterday we commented on the case of Ricci Giff – a Police Officer who was sent to prison for Misconduct in a Public Office – having sex with a woman three times when he was supposed to be at work.
Well, after having been convicted on 15th March of the same offence, Peter Bunyan was sent to prison for 7 years for the same offence today (19th March 2013). Why the huge difference?
We don’t have the sentencing remarks, so are working off the news reports. But there are several clear differences –
Firstly, Mr Bunyan was convicted of 8 counts (separate offences). This seemed to relate to five different women. This was therefore not an isolated ‘one off’, but a clear pattern of behaviour.
Secondly, Mr Bunyan had a trial. This means that there was no credit for a plea such as Mr Ricci received. This makes a big difference – Mr Bunyan’s sentence would have been reduced to just over 4½ years.
Thirdly, it seems that Mr Bunyan deliberately targeted vulnerable women by using a confidential police database to find those who had recently been victims of crime. This is much more serious than Mr Ricci.
Lastly, and perhaps not a huge point, Mr Ricci seemed to have left his radio on whilst he was having his unauthorised breaks, whereas Mr Bunyan turned his down, so would not have been able to have responded in the face of a major emergency.
Does this explain the whole disparity? Whilst Mr Bunyan’s case is clearly more serious, we would suggest that it is likely that there will be an appeal against sentence here.
The Court of Appeal would not look at Mr Bunyan’s case compared to Mr Ricci (as that case does not give any form of precedent), it does seem that Mr Bunyan’s is too high. Compare the case of Kenny Lewis, who was convicted of three counts of Misconduct for similar offences. They were less serious in that the women appeared to be less vulnerable, and the offence not as prolonged, but the sentence of four years was reduced to three. Against that backdrop, Mr Bunyan’s sentence seems appealable.
It should be remembered that Mr Bunyan got more than he would have done for most robberies and more than for one charge of rape. His offending was serious, but was it really that serious?