Tag Archives: child rape

Ian Watkins seeks permission to appeal

Watkins date set

According to the BBC, Ian Watkins will – as we predicted – seek leave to appeal against his sentence. He was given an Extended Determinate Sentence of 29 years with a 6 year licence. He will have to serve 2/3 of the 29-year sentence and the remainder on licence.

It is unknown whether Watkins’ co-defendants – who are still the subject of anonymity provisions – are seeking to appeal against their sentences.

An explanation of the sentence is here .

The process

The appeal papers will be prepared and put before the single judge. That is a High Court judge who assesses the merits of the appeal on the papers. There is no hearing.

The single judge has two options. He or she either grants leave to appeal – where a hearing before the Court of Appeal follows – or refuses leave – whereupon Watkins has two options: He can drop the appeal or he can ‘renew’ the application, which means he goes before the Court of Appeal to ask for permission at a hearing.

More detail can be found in our appeals factsheet here.

Prediction?

It is always dangerous but I would expect this to get permission and go before the full court (3 judges), probably including the Lord Chief Justice.

We’ll keep you posted…

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Coronation Street actor found not guilty of child sex offences

Michael Le Vell, best known as Coronation Street character Kevin Webster, has been found not guilty of child sex offences following a trial at Manchester Crown Court.

Photo: PA Wire

Le Vell, tried under his real name of Michael Turner, was acquitted of all twelve charges, including five counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault, two counts of sexual activity with a child and two counts of causing a child to engage in sexual activity. The jury took just over 4 hours to find him not guilty of all charges.

The complainant, now aged 17, told the jury that Le Vell put a teddy bear over her mouth whilst he raped her telling her he was “just getting rid of all the evil and bad inside me”. Her account was labelled inconsistent, unbelievable and lacking detail by defence barrister Alisdair Williamson. Reportedly there was no physical injuries to the complainant.

During the trial the jury heard personal details of Le Vell’s private life, including Le Vell’s alcohol addiction, one-night-stands and an affair.

Le Vell gave evidence during the trial and has always denied the allegations. He told the jury he was “fighting for his life”. Eleanor Laws QC, prosecuting, cross-examined Le Vell on his need to be persuasive in giving evidence, and compared it to an acting job. Le Vell replied:

“It’s nothing like an acting job. You never get put in a position like this. They never teach you to be here and face what I have been faced with for the last two years. No one can teach you that.

I’m fighting for my life.”

Of course it was not up to Le Vell to persuade the jury of his innocence. The burden of proof remains on the prosecution; it is up to them to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt, so that the jury are sure of guilt. If the jury are not sure, they will acquit, as they have done in Le Vell’s case.

Le Vell is expected to return to ITV later this year.

Teacher Andrew Pearson jailed for rape of pupil

Andrew Pearson

Photo courtesy of BBC News

Piano teacher Andrew Pearson was sentenced yesterday, 20th August 2013, to an extended sentence of 22 years, combining eighteen years imprisonment and a 4 year extended licence, for the rape and abuse of a pupil.

Pearson, 37, from Bradford, was found guilty of eight offences of rape and six of ‘sexual abuse’ by a jury sitting at Bradford Crown Court. News reports state he was convicted of ‘sexual abuse’ – sexual abuse is not an offence and it is unclear exactly which offences were charged for this element of the offending. It may well be one of the ‘abuse of a position of trust’ offences under Sexual Offences Act 2003 s 16-24.

The facts of the case are sparse, but is had been reported that Pearson started grooming his female victim when she was just eight years old and the abuse continued for four years.

Further reports suggest that the some 74,000 pornographic images and 5,000 videos were found on Pearson’s computers.  Pearson apparently had a fetish for soiled ladies underwear, as discovered by his wife when she found a pair of small pink knickers in his drawer, and pornography on a memory stick.

The Judge is reported to have said: “It was protracted, detailed, repeated abuse on a little girl who could not and did not understand and was ashamed, terrified, afraid to complain, afraid of you.”

Pearson is said to have forced the girl to take her clothes off and watch pornography with him.

Sentencing guidelines for the offences can be found here.  The maximum sentence is one of life imprisonment.  Pearson received an extended sentenceof 22 years, comprising of 18 years custody and 4 years on licence.

This means that the Judge decided that he was ‘dangerous’ within the meaning of the CJA 2003. The test is whether the defendant poses a significant risk of serious harm. On any view these were offences of the utmost seriousness and a finding of dangerousness comes as little surprise.

The aggravating features of the offences are the age of the victim, the length of time over which the offences were committed, as well as the fact that Pearson was in a position of trust.  Given the length of the sentence there may be an appeal; it may be that the assessment of dangerousness is challenged. Without knowing more information about the offences and the offender, it is impossible to assess. However, on the basic facts that have been reported, it seems any appeal may well be unsuccessful.