North Yorkshire paedophile set free after victim branded 'predatory' now jailed for two years (From The Northern Echo)
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North Yorkshire paedophile set free after victim branded 'predatory' now jailed for two years
12:15pm Tuesday 8th October 2013 in News
A PAEDOPHILE living in North Yorkshire, who walked free from court after his 13-year-old victim was branded 'predatory', has been ordered to serve a two-year jail sentence.
Three judges at the Court of Appeal in London ruled that the non-custodial term originally handed out in the case of Neil Wilson, 40, was "plainly and without doubt" unduly lenient.
A sentence of 12 months, suspended for two years, was handed out to Wilson in August after he admitted engaging in sexual activity with the child, as well as offences of making indecent images of a child and offences of possession of an extreme pornographic image.
A row broke out shortly after the case was heard at London's Snaresbrook Crown Court when it emerged that prosecuting barrister Robert Colover had labelled the young girl predatory and sexually experienced.
Attorney general Dominic Grieve referred the sentence given to Wilson, formerly of Romford, Essex, and now living in York, to appeal judges to decide if it should be increased.
The Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas and two other judges quashed the suspended sentence and ordered Wilson, who was not present in court, to surrender to police in York by 6pm tonight.
Following the case, the Crown Prosecution Service announced that Mr Colover had agreed to resign from the CPS Rape Panel of advocates, admitting his description of the girl as "predatory" and "sexually experienced" was inappropriate.
The CPS said he will remain on our general advocate panel and will still be instructed in other criminal cases.
A number of complaints about remarks made during sentencing by Judge Nigel Peters, who said he was taking into account how the girl looked and behaved, are being considered by the Judicial Conduct and Investigations Office (formerly the Office for Judicial Complaints).
At the Court of Appeal today, Lord Thomas said that how prosecuting counsel came to make the remarks he did "is not a matter, as he is not present, we can investigate ourselves".
He added: "But in any event it is the duty of the court to sentence on the facts before it. Counsel is there to assist.
"The fact that counsel makes a fundamental error in introducing a factor that is thought to be relevant cannot in any way affect the power of this court in determining what is the correct sentence."
Lord Thomas went on: "This is a case where there is no dispute as to what actually happened. It is simply a case where the judge and counsel were in error that it was relevant, as a mitigating factor, that the sexual activity had been initiated by the victim. That was wrong."
He stressed that the law was there to protect those under 16 from sexual abuse and agreed with the Attorney General that children who encouraged sexual activity needed more protection, not less.
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