Belfast Telegraph

Prosecutors may appeal sentence for paedophile who gave girl (13) an STD

Sex offender: John Workman
Sex offender: John Workman
Brett Campbell

By Brett Campbell

The Public Prosecution Service is considering referring an "unduly lenient" sentence handed to a paedophile who infected a 13-year-old girl with a lifelong STD to the Court of Appeal.

It comes after Ulster Unionist MLA John Stewart wrote to the Director of Public Prosecutions about the case of John Workman.

Workman (34), from the Craigyhill area of Larne and a youth football coach, admitted one count of grooming and three counts of having sex with a child.

He was given a two year custodial sentence and told he will spend a further two years on licence and banned from ever working with children again.

The PPS said: "The Public Prosecution Service is considering if there is a basis to refer the sentence handed down in this case to the Court of Appeal on the grounds that it may be unduly lenient."

Mr Stewart has also asked for the sentence to be reviewed.

Judges are bound by sentencing guidelines and must take into account mitigating circumstances, such as early guilty pleas, co-operation with police and remorse, as well as aggravating factors such as intent and excessive violence.

Mr Stewart said: "Judicial decisions are quite rightly kept out of the political arena. But given the seriousness of this case, I have written to the director of Public Prosecutions asking him to consider grounds for referring the leniency of the sentence to the Court of Appeal." The judge told Workman, a father-of-four, that his convictions and jail sentence "represent a seismic and life-changing fall from grace" and that the victim had suffered significant physical and mental harm following the grooming and sexual abuse which took place between March and October 2014.

He also said Workman "blatantly and knowingly" breached the trust placed in him by infecting the "vulnerable" girl with a lifelong STD which "will be a reminder of this appalling episode".

Mr Stewart believes sentencing structures need to be reviewed to retain confidence in the judicial system.

The East Antrim representative said courts must hand out "punishments that fit the crime".

"Judges who hand out custodial sentences have legislative guidelines they have to work within, but given the level of public disquiet at the short sentence which has been imposed in this particular case, I believe the DPP needs to look at it in the public interest."

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