We have covered the case of Lost Prophets singer Ian Watkins previously on the blog. When he was sentenced, we said that it was a very, very high sentence and permission to appeal was likely to be granted. On that basis, it wasn’t a surprise when The Independent reported on 16th July 2014 that he has been given permission to appeal.
The full appeal hearing is next Wednesday, 23rd July 2014.
Here’s some of our previous pieces on the case:
- Ian Watkins pleads guilty
- A look at Mr Watkins 35 year sentence
- Confirmation that Mr Watkins was trying to appeal
What will happen?
The hearing will be a full appeal against sentence we understand. The Judges will have the papers, so anyone sitting in Court to watch it may well be a bit confused as they won’t have all that information.
It probably won’t actually last that long – maybe half an hour. A cynic would say that the Judges will have come to their conclusion, and even written their judgment, in advance.
There has been a move recently to have more hearings out of London, and to create a legal hub in Cardiff to represent Wales. There is a ‘Civil and Family Justice Centre’ there that can hear many cases.
Because of the need for a secure dock for Mr Watkins, this appeal will actually be heard in the Crown Court at Cardiff, even though it will be sitting for the day as the Court of Appeal.
As to the outcome? Difficult to say. Having to serve at least 19 years is one of the highest sentences ever handed out for this sort of offending. Having said that, this was a particularly horrific set of offences, and an extremely lengthy sentence was in order.
I imagine that there will be two strands to the appeal. Firstly, that an extended sentenced was not necessary. This is unlikely to get anywhere due to the nature of the offending.
Where Mr Watkins is on stronger ground is the argument that the sentence was just too long. When an extended sentence is passed, the usual need in sexual offences sentencing for public safety doesn’t apply. In light of that, I would imagine a total sentence of 30 years, with 24 years plus an extension of 6 years would have been more appropriate.
But, we’ll certainly have a look at this next week.