Thursday, 6 June 2013

Unduly Lenient sentences in the UK


I was going to continue with my "Media AVP" posts, but following the above story thought I would do a small posting regarding 'unduly lenient sentences' in the UK.

How many of you read the above story with a feeling of disgust - that someone who was found guilty of sex offences against young children could walk out of court a free man (albeit with a 12 month suspended sentence?)

What was the judge thinking? How can this be allowed? What a smack in the face for his victims who have had to a) live with this all these past years and b) have had to live through the ordeal of a full trial due to him pleading not guilty?

A lot of people judging by the comments on twitter and other sites.

How many of you realise that there is a way that you can appeal against sentences that are 'unduly lenient' like this one certainly is?

Anyone can appeal against a sentence that you consider Unduly Lenient!

As long as the sentencing is in the previous twenty-eight days, was passed in a Crown Court, and is a crime contained in the link I will include at the bottom of this posting - anyone can appeal to the AGs office against the sentence.

If you do appeal, all you need to do is make sure your e-mail is short, sharp and to the point (bullet-pointed is helpful). I personally find it beneficial to include the offenders name, date of sentence and court the trial and sentence was passed in the subject field. There are probably numerous sites you can refer to regarding sentencing policies and what conditions have not been met which have made it (in your view) 'unduly lenient', but the one I use is What Sentences Are For.

This link Unduly Lenient Sentences gives further details on how the process works. For England and Wales, the e-mail address to send them to is and for Scotland, the e-mail address is

A lot of the time, sentences will not be reviewed, but there are times they will be, as below.

Thank you for your email below about the sentence given to Graham Ovenden.
This Office has asked for further details of the cases from the Crown Prosecution Service so that the Law Officers can decide whether or not to refer the sentences to the Court of Appeal as being unduly lenient.
Yours sincerely
Correspondence Unit

So next time, instead of joining the twitter/facebook army of moaners, do something constructive about it.

You never know, yours could be the one appeal that gets a sentence increased to what it should be..............



  1. I was impressed when I learned that you could, and did, do something about inappropriately lenient sentencing in the UK. That is an important citizen right, and I hope others will follow your example and participate.


    1. Thanks Elle, I hope so as well - the more people that complain, the more (hopefully times sentences could be increased if they are too lenient. Something anyone can do anytime.

    Graham Ovenden's suspended sentence sends a dangerous messageWhen those convicted of sexual abuse walk free it discourages people reporting and testifying against abuse in future

    "Young people need us to help protect them and never to imply that they are to blame for the abuse they experience. Most recently, the children in the Philpott case were described as being "feral" and a product of their parents abusing the benefit system, as opposed to children living in a home where there was severe domestic violence happening. In the Oxford and Telford cases, the 14-year-old girls reporting repeated sexual assaults were dismissed on the basis that they had "chosen" their lifestyle by working in prostitution."

    14-year-olds being manovered into 'prostitution' is a seperate but connected problem and a very good reason why the age of consent should not be lowered wven if the law is not always applied.

    1. Totally agree regarding the age of consent remaining at sixteen in the UK (despite the fact that a child of thirteen, by law, can apparently "give consent", leading to such ridiculous claims as in the Oxford and Telford cases where children had "chosen" their lifestyle.

      More to follow on "child prostitution" in a future posting.

  3. Someone has done an impressively quick rewrite of wiki:

    In April 2013, Ovenden was found guilty of six charges of indecency with a child and one charge of indecent assault against a child, charges relating to girls who had modelled for him. Following his conviction, the Tate gallery removed images of his work from its online gallery, and also removed access to his work in its galleries. [4]

    After Graham Ovenden was convicted by a jury of Paedophile offences; indecent assault and six counts of indecency, Ovenden was sentenced on June 4th 2013 to a year's imprisonment suspended for two years. When sentencing Ovenden Judge Graham Cottle told him he cloaked his sexual interest by claiming it was an artistic one. Cottle said a "stream" of young girls had arrived at Ovenden's home, Barley Splatt on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, to be photographed. "The girls had no understanding at that time of the true purpose behind what you were doing, a purpose that was undoubtedly sexual," The judge went on to say that one of the indecency offences Ovenden was convicted of – asking a girl to touch him while they were in a bath together – could today be treated as inciting a child to engage in a sexual act, carrying a maximum jail sentence of 14 years. [5]

    The suspended sentence was considered unduly lenient and on June 5th 2013 the Attorney General announced he has begun a review into whether the sentence imposed on artist Graham Ovenden was too lenient.[6]

    1. Lol that was quick - hopefully sometime in the near future it can be updated again - fingers crossed the AG will decide that this was "unduly lenient", the case will be reviewed & he will get a proper custodial sentence.