We were directed towards the case of Adam Hulin, a 19 year old man who received a 12 month Community Order for rape and assault by penetration on 24th April 2014, so we thought we would have a quick look.
The facts are a bit hazy. We know that this was in 2012 when Mr Hulin would probably have been 17 (we don’t know his date of birth however). There was one victim who would have been aged under 13, but we know no more than that.
There were originally three allegations – oral rape and assault by penetration, to which there was a guilty plea. There was then a trial for a further allegation of vaginal rape during which the jury was discharged from giving a verdict and there was a Newton hearing. A Newton hearing essentially a trial on a factual point. There is no jury and the decision is made by the judge. The defendant may give evidence but does not need to. The defendant It is not clear what triggered this, or what was actually happening.
We understand that there have already been calls for an AG Reference.
On the face of it, this seems a very low sentence. The adult guidelines will apply as Mr Hulin was aged over 18 at the time of sentence.
The guidelines for rape start at p27 and for assault by penetration at p33.
And at that point, we draw a blank as we have no idea what the facts of the case are … We can see that the lowest starting point is 8 years with a range of 6-11 years for rape (the law makes no distinction between sentencing for oral, anal or vaginal rape) and 4 years with a range of 2-6 years for assault by penetration.
One can see from that that the sentence passed is miles below the guidelines. Even taking the lowest point in the range and giving full credit for the plea of guilty, that would be a sentence of 4 years.
So, has the Judge got it wrong? Not necessarily. Sentencing is supposed to be an art, not a science. We have seen plenty of cases where Courts have gone outside of the guidelines (above and below) for good reasons, and that is something to be encouraged in the right sort of case.
Was this the right sort of case to pass a non-custodial sentence? We don’t know as we don’t know the facts. Let’s wait and see if there is an AG Ref.