Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Stuart Hall's jail sentence doubled

Disgraced broadcaster Stuart Hall admitted 14 counts of indecent assault against young girls between 1967 and 1987

Broadcaster Stuart Hall has been ordered to serve double his jail sentence for sex offences against children by judges who criticised his public denials of his victims' claims when he knew he was guilty.

The 83-year-old former It's A Knockout presenter, who admitted offences of indecent assault relating to 13 victims after initially declaring his innocence, watched via video link from Preston prison as Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge announced that a term of 15 months imposed last month was "inadequate".

Increasing the sentence to 30 months at the Court of Appeal in London, Lord Judge said the court regarded his original denials - describing the claims against him as "cruel, pernicious and spurious" in a statement made from the steps of a court - as a "seriously aggravating" feature in the case.

In a lengthy ruling, Lord Judge said that when Hall attacked his victims' claims, he knew the truth and, as an expert in the use of the media, was fully alert to the possible advantages of manipulating it.

At that point, hoping to escape justice and attempting to use the media to possibly influence potential jurors, he "traduced" 13 adult women who had been sexually assaulted by him.

Lord Judge said: "He did plead guilty but not before he had publicly and deliberately attacked the victims."

Hall, from Wilmslow, Cheshire, who admitted 14 counts of indecent assault against girls aged between nine and 17 over a period of almost 20 years, showed no reaction as the decision to increase his "unduly lenient" sentence was announced by Lord Judge, sitting with Lady Justice Rafferty and Mrs Justice Macur.

The case was referred to the court by Attorney General Dominic Grieve, who argued that Hall's sentence failed to adequately reflect the gravity of his offending and the public concern about such crimes.

Hall was sentenced to the 15 months at Preston Crown Court by the Recorder of Preston, Judge Anthony Russell QC.

Lord Judge - who said Hall "got away with it" for decades and had "lived a lie for more than half of his life" - concluded at the end of Friday's hearing: "Making every allowance that can reasonably be made, this sentence was inadequate."

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