Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Victims welcome sentence referral

Stuart Hall was jailed for 15 months earlier this year

Victims of jailed sex offender Stuart Hall have welcomed a move to refer his prison sentence to the Court of Appeal for being too soft.

Hall, 83, was jailed for 15 months after admitting 14 counts of indecent assault against girls as young as nine between 1967 and 1987.

More than 150 people demanded that the Attorney General's Office (AGO) referred the It's A Knockout presenter's sentence to the Court of Appeal for being "unduly lenient".

A spokesman for the Office said Attorney General Dominic Grieve had decided to refer the case.

Alan Collins, from law firm Pannone, who is representing 17 of Hall's victims, said: "First and foremost it is important to note that Stuart Hall was found guilty in a court of law and sentenced for his crimes.

"It is reassuring for victims to know that they can come forward, that their complaints will be dealt with by the police and other authorities sympathetically and properly and that custodial sentences can and will be handed down.

"We do echo the view of many sexual abuse victims and groups representing them that sentences should reflect the seriousness of the crimes committed and the decision to review Stuart Hall's sentence is to be welcomed. We await the court's decision with great interest."

Hall directly exploited his role as a popular BBC presenter to target four of his victims, while he assaulted another four on the pretence of giving elocution lessons to them at his home. Before entering his guilty plea in April, Hall had made a public pronouncement on the steps of a court, describing all the claims against him as "cruel, pernicious and spurious".

Hall, from Wilmslow, Cheshire, was arrested and subsequently charged on December 5 last year with indecently assaulting three young girls. More women came forward as a result of publicity and Hall was rearrested before he later admitted the sexual offences.

The length of the jail term was immediately criticised as "unduly lenient" by shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry, who urged Mr Grieve to look at the matter.

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