This morning I was asked by BBC Hereford and Worcester to comment on their 8 o’clock News bulletin about a story concerning the conviction of a sex offender called Nathan Green for distributing and possessing illegal images of children at the worst level A as well as in the B and C categories for which he was given a sentence of 2 years imprisonment but suspended for 18 months. I said that the sentence seemed lenient and out of step with the recommended guidelines.
- 41 of the images and 2 videos were at the worst level. In total police found 307 digital items.
- He offered to share his own unborn baby with other online paedophiles
- He engaged with other paedophiles to share images and converse.
- He refused to co-operate with the police and made no comment during his interview.
During the news item, they broadcast the reaction of the local public to the sentence. Almost to a man they were horrified and all thought that an immediate custodial sentence would have been justified. My knee jerk reaction was the same. Before the programme I did as much research as I could to try to find a reason for the exceptional nature of the sentence. I found nothing, but obviously was not in Court to hear the full facts.
CPS publishes the guidelines on their site which seem to recommend varying lengths of imprisonment depending upon the nature of the images, the extent to which they were acquired for personal use, as opposed to distribution, and the number of images found by the police.
The judge in this case was clearly influenced by
- The Defendant’s remorse and admission of guilt
- His previous good character
- His active involvement in a sex offender course
- His partner and father’s support in the form of attendance on courses designed to learn how to help him with his problems.
Whether or not the CPS will apply to the Attorney General for permission to have the sentence reviewed remains to be seen. The problem with this type of case is of course that usually the victims cannot be either identified or consulted for their views upon the extent to which the punishment fitted the crime.