Belfast Telegraph

Stuart Hall: Sometimes the law's just criminal

By Jane Graham

This week's 15 months sentencing of Stuart Hall for sexually assaulting 13 young girls highlights yet another aspect of the law which should be seriously reconsidered.

It was Stuart Hall's own QC who said Hall's serial molestation was a crime from a time when it was "a man's world, where children had no voice".

It seems an odd defence to suggest that society in the Seventies and early Eighties disregarded the cries of abused children, so it was understandable that Hall had taken advantage of such injustices. But the law backs it up. The Human Rights Convention states that 'no heavier penalty (can) be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the criminal offence was committed'.

So even though an enlightened system now accepts that the maximum sentence for a crime disgracefully under-estimated decades ago should be 10 years instead of two, it still can't impose that sentence on the likes of Hall. Crazy.

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