Monday, 30 September 2013

IIOC vs ULS vs Indictable Offenses - An Open Question

A quick update on my post from a couple of days ago.
Following the above article published yesterday, the below has been sent, with the question asked if the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling and Police Minister Damian Green would be happy for me to publish their responses here.
awaiting their replies with interest ...
"Dear Mr Grayling, Mr Green,

 I read with interest the article in the subject of this e-mail, regarding "Tough justice for those who watch child porn" (not my choice of words, these images or videos are images of children being abused and exploited by paedophiles, not pornography, but that's another issue that I continually take up with the media).

As you can see by the below, I have been trying to find out why some offences are able to be appealed against under the "Unduly Lenient Sentences" scheme, whilst others are not.

I received a reply from the Sentencing Policy and Penalties Unit this week, with the gist of their e-mail reply being it all depends on the classification of offences. It seems that only sentences that are considered "indictable only" can be considered under the ULS scheme, and as the crime of making/downloading of Indecent Images of Children is not an "Indictable Only" crime, this is why it cannot be considered when appealed against.

I have blogged a little on this, the link is here, please feel free to read this, I have included in there a small part of the e-mail I received.

My question to both of you, is if the British Justice system is to get tougher on crimes, this one in particular, why is it not considered "indictable only"? I would have thought that all paedophile crimes or crimes against children would automatically be classified as this, not as a "Summary" or "Either Way" offence. As more people become aware of the ULS scheme, surely having this crime included as Indictable Only, and letting the public be able to appeal under the ULS scheme if sentences are too light, would eventually affect the sentences that are passed down going forward if enough people complained?

Thank you & look forward to your reply.

Richard Bougeard"

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Indecent Images of Children & the Unduly Lenient Sentencing Scheme - A Reply.


"Attorney General says case cannot be taken to Court of Appeal despite several complaints the sentenced for Robert Finlay was unduly lenient
Robert Finlay, Barnes Crescent in East Howe, pleaded guilty to seventeen charges of making indecent images of children.
The 53 year old was convicted earlier this month but his 8 month suspended jail sentence was not welcomed by Bournemouth Council.
A spokesman at the time said: "While we are surprised with the suspended sentence we do accept the judge's decision".
The Attorney General's office received over fifteen complaints arguing it was 'unduly lenient'.
However, the office has told the breeze they cannot take the case to the court of appeal because only a limited number of crimes fall into the Unduly Lenient Sentencing scheme (ULS).
They have released this statement:
"We received a number of complaints asking that the sentence handed down to Robert Finlay was considered as part of the unduly lenient sentencing (ULS) scheme. 
"However the ULS scheme only applies to a limited number of offences and making indecent photographs of a child is not one of those offences. 
"Therefore it is not possible for the law officers to refer this sentence to the Court of Appeal for review." 
Readers of my blog may recall that I have been trying to find out exactly why ULS Sentences relating to Indecent Images of Children cannot be reviewed under the ULS scheme. I have at last managed to find this out.
It all rests on the classification of the offence. Offences, I have learned, are placed into three classifications. These being "Summary Only", "Either Way" or "Indictable Only" offences.
Summary only ones are ones that can (nearly always) be tried in the Magistrates Court.
Either Way ones are ones that can be tried in either a Magistrates or a Crown Court.
Indictable Only are ones that are sent to a Crown Court for trial. A list of Indictable Only offences are contained Here and include over 200 crimes.
After trying for the last couple of months, I have finally received a (rather lengthy) response from the Sentencing Policy And Penalties unit, stating exactly why the offence of IIOC cannot be appealed against as Unduly Lenient. Part of this reply is produced below -
"You have also asked about the unduly lenient sentencing scheme and why it applies only to certain offences.  The scheme, whereby the Law Officers may refer sentences to the Court of Appeal to consider whether they are unduly lenient, is confined to those offences that are so serious that they must be tried at the Crown Court (‘indictable-only’ offences, such as rape or robbery), and to certain ‘either-way’ offences which, although they may be tried in the Crown Court or a magistrates’ court, are capable of being serious enough to justify a high maximum penalty. "
As the crime of downloading IIOC is not an "Indictable Only" offence, it therefore cannot be appealed against. Unfortunately this means, the next time you see someone who has downloaded thousands, tens, or hundreds of thousands of such images, and has been handed (for example) a small suspended sentence, there is nothing you can do to appeal.
Of course, this raises the question of why this crime is not considered "indictable only"? Surely, at least in my opinion, every and any paedophile crime should automatically be considered this...
Another time.... another challenge ...

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

AVP and a small shade of Jersey


"A judge has been criticised after he described jailing a paedophile primary school teacher as a "tragedy" and a "loss to the community". Richard Oldham, 32, was sentenced to six months after he pleaded guilty to voyeurism, making indecent images of a child and sexually assaulting two boys at Leeds Crown Court. Oldham, now of North Tamerton, Cornwall, admitted to groping his victims and filming children as they changed in the swimming pool. He was described by police as "every parent's worst nightmare". However, despite admitting 23 sex offences over eight years, Judge Jameson said that Oldham was "man enough" to battle his demons and that he is a good teacher who should be "treasured"."


23 sex offenses over eight years, and he was described by the judge as "a good teacher who should be treasured"??

Naturally, there was outrage at these comments.

"David Hines, of the National Victims' Association charity, said he was "gobsmacked" by the judge's remarks."

"An NSPCC spokesman said: "A good teacher commands the unquestioning trust of pupils and parents, however talented they may be at teaching. "We doubt many parents will be sad to see him put in jail." 'Prison is the right place for him'""

What was the judge thinking?

What if it were a fireman who was caught and arrested for arson? Would the judge have possibly described him as "a great fireman"?

What if he were a Police Officer who had been caught in something like an armed robbery. Would the judge have sympathised with him calling him "an exemplary Police Officer"?

Disgusting language from a Judge - the fact was this was a paedophile teacher with eight years of sex offenses. Seems probable that he would have become a teacher purely to get the close contact with children to satisfy his vile fantasies.

Which got me thinking about a slightly closer to home apologist for a paedophile teacher.

Not quite the same - as at the time he was not in the judiciary - but similar all the same.

From the above link (5 parts & well worth a read if you haven't read it already).
"He went on to say that Mr Jervis-Dykes had served the college in an outstandingly competent and conscientious way. He accepted that there was now evidence of misconduct" and "He asked that Mr Jervis-Dykes be allowed to leave with some dignity"

Very similar language.
But where was the outrage at the time this report came out - where were Jersey's "gobsmacked" child protection experts?
OK, at the time he was Vice Principal of the college, not a member of the Judiciary.
But the rest as they say is history.
No real  connections - and the main point is the above UK story - but it does get you thinking sometimes about the different reactions between the two areas .........

Monday, 16 September 2013

AVP and the Sunday Mirror


Rather than bore you with explaining the AVP in the above article, that the media sometimes reports like this, here is the e-mail I have sent to The Daily Mirror. I have also raised this with the press complaints commission - lets see what (if any) response I get. Knowing Ryan Parry from previous complaints, I will receive either nothing at all, or an e-mail asking me not to waste any of his time on complaints like this.

Anyway - here goes.

I have as you will have known, desisted from e-mailing you regarding your continued (but not quite so much) use of the trivialising way that you describe indecent images of children.
However, I must complain about the disgusting way that the above story has appeared in Sunday's Mirror.
2 points -
Firstly the way that the girls are merely described as under aged (before you point out to me, I know they are) rather than as children. Someone seeing a headline about underage girls would assume that they are within a couple of years under the age of consent - not somewhere between ten and twelve years old. These should not be described as "underage", but as children - as children are exactly what they are.
Secondly and more importantly, the choice of words by the Mirror "Four in a bed romp".
Please - even the Mirror must know that this sort of statement implies some sort of steamy orgy - a mutual sexual consent between all four parties. Reading a headline describing a four in a bed romp, should be best left to some celebrity gossip column, a "Sunday Sport" special maybe, an article in NUTS or ZOO - but never to describe 2 Corrie stars being allegedly caught sexually abusing two 10-12 year old children.
I would be very grateful for a reply this time - I realise the last e-mail I received from Mr Parry advised me that I was wasting too much of his precious time by e-mailing him my concerns, but child abuse is a serious issue and should never ever be trivialised and downplayed in the manner you are doing. This has to be one of the worst headlines to describe alleged child abuse I have seen in a long time.
Many thanks"

Not holding my breath - it's bad for my health!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

The BBC, the term "Child Porn" and why complaints of this nature are a waste of time.


A brief posting on the BBC's stance on their use of the term "Child Porn". The one organisation I no longer bother to complain to about this - hopefully the below will explain why.

In a nutshell they have no objection to using this phrase in their reporting as long as they also include "indecent images of children" somewhere else in the articles. Not sure why they think this acceptable - by their reasoning one could use the term n****r as well as long as you include the words "black person" - no sense I know, but one that they have used.

Below is a PDF from the BBC Trust complaints section, detailing my complaints and their responses. It is from page 41 to 44, so not that long. It is worth a read, below in blue, to see both my points and their (pretty rubbish to be honest) answers.

The complainant appealed to the Trust following the decision of the Head of Editorial Standards, BBC Trust, not to accept his complaint on appeal.
Stage 1
The complainant contacted the BBC on 28 April 2011 to complain about the use of the phrase "child porn" in a BBC News Online headline. The complainant said that this was not an acceptable phrase as

"To suggest these are ‘porn’ implies both a mutual consent (non-existent) and legality, (again, non-existent)."

The complainant said this was an offensive expression and was not used by the child protection agencies.

BBC News replied, agreeing that "indecent images" might be a better term but adding:

"in headlines -where the number of characters we can use is limited –‘child porn’ is a widely-understood term and can be used as long as the story itself spells out the nature of the material or offence."

The complainant contacted the BBC again in June 2011 regarding another article which had the headline "Norfolk minister Philip Hilstrop sentenced over child porn". The complainant said this was both offensive and trivialising. He said that neither the courts nor the child protection agencies used this term and that he would like the BBC to stop doing so and to amend its style guide accordingly.

The BBC responded saying that, it understood the complainant’s preference for use of the term "indecent images" as a suitable description.BBC News Online thought it acceptable to use the expression "child porn" in headlines as long as the story itself spelt out the nature of the material or offence. The response said that the style guide is refreshed periodically and that the complainant’s comments would be borne in mind.

Stage 2

The complainant escalated his complaint to the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit on 28 June 2011, saying he had complained several times about the use of the term "child porn" and asking to see the BBC’s policy on this. He repeated his view that the term is offensive, and said that it has implications of having "child porn stars", implies mutual consent and a business interest, and trivialises and legitimises the offences as related to art. The complainant said the term in law is "indecent photographs or films of children" and that other media and the child protection agencies do not use the term "child porn".

The complainant repeated his statement that the BBC should review its style guide to reflect this.

The Head of the Editorial Complaints Unit replied on 7 July 2011. He said he would be considering specifically the second article the complainant had mentioned but that any finding might be expected to have general application. He said that he intended to consider the complaint as being about misleading content under the Accuracy guideline.

The Head of the ECU then responded substantively, saying that he had understood the complainant to be objecting to the use of the term on the grounds that it diminished the severity of the crime and implied consent or voluntary participation. However, the Head of the ECU said he had checked a number of sources and definitions and did not find
support for that view. He added that the principle that children could not give informed consent also militated against this view. The Head of the ECU concluded that for this reason he could not uphold the complaint.

The complainant replied, asking the Head of the ECU to respond to the specific points in the complainant’s first communication with him. The complainant asked the Head of the ECU to consult the links he enclosed and reconsider his decision.

Having visited the sites suggested by the complainant, the Head of the ECU said he agreed there was evidence some people found the term "child porn" offensive. He apologised for not specifically addressing each of the points the complainant had made originally but said this was because he thought them all a subset of the complaint as he had summarised it. He mentioned an Editor’s Blog by Mary Hockaday6, written in 2007, which addressed the very point the complainant was making and said he hoped this reassured the complainant that these matters were kept under consideration.

Appeal to the Trust
The complainant wrote to the BBC Trust on 21 August 2011, saying he had persuaded a number of media outlets to stop using the term "child pornography" or "child porn" and he hoped the BBC would stop doing so likewise.

The complainant said that "victims of this crime find this a deeply offensive term to use" and that "Paedophiles will always try to justify their actions to others". The complainant’s third reason was that:

"The actual crime, as detailed in the UK sexual offences act 2003, is ‘taking or making an indecent photograph of a child’."

The complainant said that taken in literal context, the words "child" and "porn" do not go together. He stated that a number of child protection agencies –such as the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the Internet Watch Foundation, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, and Phoenix Chief Advocates –state that this is the incorrect way of referring to these images; primarily on the basis that it trivialises the crime committed.

The complainant noted that terms and language that are deemed acceptable change over time. He asked the Trustees to review the material and links he had attached and to conclude that the term should not have been or continue to be used by the BBC.

The BBC Trust’s Senior Editorial Strategy Adviser replied on behalf of the Head of Editorial Standards, explaining that the Trust does not adjudicate on every appeal that is brought to it, and part of the role of the BBC Trust’s Head of Editorial Standards is to check that appeals qualify for consideration by the Trust (or one of its complaints committees) under the Complaints Framework.

The Senior Editorial Strategy Adviser said that the Head of Editorial Standards had read the relevant correspondence, and the articles in question, and had concluded that the appeal did not have a reasonable prospect of success and should not proceed to the Editorial Standards Committee of the BBC Trust.

The Senior Editorial Strategy Adviser informed the complainant of the Head of Editorial Standards’ reasons for her decision.

She said that the Head of Editorial Standards understood that this is a matter the complainant felt very strongly about. She explained that in general the BBC is not
expected to ban specific words or phrases. In the case of the phrase "child porn", the Head of Editorial Standards believed the BBC was correct in the position it had explained to the complainant; that this is a phrase that is well understood by the public and that they are likely to appreciate that it signifies an act of abuse.

The Senior Editorial Strategy Adviser said that the Head of Editorial Standards understood that for some people this is a particularly offensive term and acknowledges that the BBC should be sensitive to that.

The Senior Editorial Strategy Adviser noted that the complainant had been directed to the Head of the Newsroom’s blog, and had included a link to it in his appeal. She said that the Head of Editorial Standards’ view was that the piece was thoughtful and explained the BBC’s view and the continued use of the phrase.

The Senior Editorial Strategy Adviser noted that the headline on the article originally complained about had been changed to read, "Former West Yorkshire PC jailed for child sex offences". She also noted that the second article included a very clear explanation of what was meant by the phrase used in the headline:

"A Methodist minister from Norfolk has been given a four-month jail sentence suspended for two years after admitting possessing indecent images of children."

She explained that the Head of Editorial Standards therefore did not believe that there was a reasonable prospect of success for the appeal and did not propose to put it to the ESC.

The complainant replied with a request for the Trustees to review the decision of the Head of Editorial Standards not to proceed with his appeal.

The Committee’s decision
The Committee was provided with the complainant’s appeal to the Trust, the response from the Trust’s Head of Editorial Standards, and the complainant’s appeal against the Head of Editorial Standards’ decision. The Committee was also provided with the Stage 2 response from the Editorial Complaints Unit.

The Committee noted that the complainant felt very strongly that the term "child porn" should not be used by the BBC, and it noted his reasons for this view. The Committee also noted the Head of Editorial Standards’ statement that the BBC is not expected to ban specific words or phrases. The Committee noted that the Head of the BBC’s Newsroom had addressed the issue raised by the complainant in her blog. The Committee was satisfied that the BBC had demonstrated that it was sensitive to the offence that the use of the phrase could cause, and that, while the BBC would not enforce a ban on the use of the word, it had removed it from the headline of the article about which the complainant originally complained and that context was given in the second article. The Committee agreed that there was not a reasonable prospect of success for this appeal.

The Committee was therefore satisfied that the decision not to proceed with the appeal was correct.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

"Mild" Paedophilia?


From the above article -

"I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild paedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today.”
"The mention of paedophilia inevitably brings us to the recent run of arrests of old white men accused of child sex abuse, starting with Jimmy Savile. Has the moral zeitgeist been shifting at their expense? “I think we should acknowledge it. That’s one point… But the other point is that because the most notorious cases of paedophilia involve rape and even murder, and because we attach the label ‘paedophilia’ to the same things when they’re just mild touching up, we must beware of lumping all paedophiles into the same bracket.”
So is there a risk of a metaphorical lynching of well-known people as soon as they’re accused? “I think there is a risk of that.”
What about the child sex abuse scandals that have led to anguished soul-searching and multibillion-dollar payouts in various outposts of Christianity? “Same thing,” he says. “Although I’m no friend of the Church, I think they have become victims of our shifting standards and we do need to apply the conventions of the good historian in dealing with cases which are many decades old.”
In the book, Dawkins mentions one occasion when a teacher put a hand down his trousers at a prep school in Salisbury, and four others at Oundle, when he “had to fend off nocturnal visits to my bed from senior boys much larger and stronger than I was”. The Oundle incidents don’t seem to have bothered him"

Now, forgive my ignorance, but what exactly is "mild" paedophilia?

Surely paedophilia is paedophilia, full stop, no?

Of course, there are paedophiles who go the "whole hog", and rape children. There are also paedophiles who don't necessarily physically rape, but abuse in other ways. Similarly there are ones who go online, and download and/or share indecent images of children for their own gratification, and the gratification of other paedophiles. The courts deal with all these crimes as paedophile crimes - as they should - any abuse against children should be taken with equal importance.

So why the differentiation - why the word "mild" - why the comparison between crimes committed today, and ones committed decades ago? Are any other crimes described as "mild"? "Mild robbery, Mild murder? Mild arson? Should such crimes as Dawkins describes - paedophile teachers putting their disgusting mitts down boys pants - be dismissed like this? Should they be taken less seriously purely on the fact that full on rape had not been committed? What do other victims of abuse ("mild paedophilia" in Dawkins words) think - should they shrug this off as only an insignificant crime? What do other victims of child abuse in the past think - should they just forget about it due to the fact it may have occurred 2, 3, 5 decades ago?

Is Dawkins just making excuses for paedophiles? Does he not think that paedophiles, who may engage in "mild paedophilia" could not progress to more full on abuse and rape, if they are seen to get away with their "mild" abuse? What would he feel, if supposing, the teacher had "graduated" from stuffing his grubby fingers down boys pants, to rape? Would there be any regret in not informing TPTB? There is no excuse for paedophilia, either "mild", full on rape, or online IIOC. There is, in the same way, no excuse for it occurring either today, yesterday, or 50 years ago. Period.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

An Extra Addition - Easyfunding.

Readers of this blog may have spotted something an extra addition to my blog as from yesterday. For those who haven't, please scroll down to the very bottom and take a read.

The addition I am referring to is an added part with details of an organisation called Easyfunding.

Taken from the Easyfunding How it works page, the following is a brief description of how funds are raised:

" helps charities, schools, sports clubs, community groups, and other good causes to raise money when their supporters shop online. So far we've raised over £4 million for causes throughout the UK.
It works in a similar way to many other loyalty shopping sites, but instead of earning points when you shop, you raise a donation for your cause instead. It's as simple as that!
You can shop with over 2,000 well known stores and each will donate up to 15% of what you spend. For example, John Lewis will donate 1%, Amazon 1.5%, The Body Shop 6%, some insurance retailers will even donate up to £30 simply for taking out a policy with them!"

It is very simple to register with, and if you shop online, as a lot of people do nowadays, it is a great way to help raise funds at no cost to anyone. With current financial conditions, to be able to fundraise for free  in this way is a huge help to any charity or good cause that you choose to support. As well as raising funds whilst shopping online, you can also raise funds simply by signing up to newsletters or taking out free one month trials also, as well as entering monthly competitions to win cash prizes for your cause.

By far the best way (I think) to help, is to save this as your homepage and search Online, as you would via Google / Bing / Yahoo. Every time you complete a search - that is raising funds for The Phoenix Post. So far, just by using this Search Engine in the last year and a bit, we have raised over £100!

If it wasn't for Sara Payne and Shy Keenan, we would not have Sarah's Law in Jersey.

If it were not for Sara Payne and Shy Keenan, this blog would not have been started,.

If it were not for Sara Payne and Shy Keenan, I would not be challenging AVP, appealing against Unduly Lenient sentences, or anything else I currently do.

They are the two people who have inspired me to do this, and by setting The Phoenix Post up with Easyfunding and Easysearch, this is one way that I show support for the work they do in helping and advocating for victims of paedophile crimes.

So please, click on the link at the very bottom of my blog (the "Ready to Join, Support Us Now" one), have a look around Easyfunding, and if you too would also like to help Sara and Shy continue their work by helping to fund them to do it, please register and use Easyfunding whilst shopping online, and use Easysearch instead of Google.

Thank you.