EDIT: Stuart Hall was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment on 17 June 2013. More to follow.
Stuart Hall, 83, pleaded guilty to 14 offences which occurred between 1967 and 1985. There is one count of rape which will lie on the file – this means that the charge will not be proceeded with without the leave of the Court of Appeal. This usually happens where the offence is not admitted by the defendant, the judge agrees there is sufficient evidence to have a trial., but the prosecution decide (usually as a result of pleas to other offences) there is no need to secure a conviction on the matter, but do not want to offer to evidence. The matter can be reinstituted but this is rare.
You may remember that Mr Hall had previously referred to the allegations as “pernicious, callous, cruel and above all spurious”.
The BBC report was as follows: “Preston Crown Court previously heard that in the 1980s Hall molested a nine-year-old girl by putting his hand up her clothing.
He also kissed a 13-year-old girl on the lips after saying to her: “People need to show thanks in other ways.”
CPS Chief Crown Prosecutor Nazir Afzal described Hall as an opportunistic predator. He went on to say that Mr Hall’s victims did not know each other and that although almost two decades separated the assaults, the victims provided strikingly similar accounts.
Sentencing in historic sex cases can be complex and difficult.
Here are some basic principles from the guideline case on sentencing historic sexual offences, R v H 2012 2 Cr App R (S) 21:
1) The offence of which the defendant is convicted and the sentencing parameters (in particular, the maximum available sentence) applicable to that offence are governed not by the law at the date of sentence, but by the law in force at the time when the criminal conduct occurred.
2) Article 7(1) of the European Convention of Human Rights prohibits the imposition of a heavier penalty than one “applicable” at the time when the offence was committed.
3) Although sentence must be limited to the maximum sentence at the date when the offence was committed, it is wholly unrealistic to attempt an assessment of sentence by seeking to identify in (2013) what the sentence for the individual offence was likely to have been if the offence had come to light at or shortly after the date when it was committed.
4) Similarly, if maximum sentences have been reduced, as in some instances, for example theft, they have, the more severe attitude to the offence in earlier years, even if it could be established, should not apply.
5) As always, the particular circumstances in which the offence was committed and its seriousness must be the main focus. Due allowance for the passage of time may be appropriate. The date may have a considerable bearing on the offender’s culpability.