Attorney-General has "no power" to refer sex offender's sentence to higher court (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Attorney-General has "no power" to refer sex offender Robert Finlay's sentence to higher court
3:02pm Wednesday 21st August 2013 in News
THE sentence handed to sex offender council official Robert Ian Finlay will not be referred to the Court of Appeal, the Attorney General's office has announced today.
Finlay walked free from Bournemouth Crown Court on Friday after receiving a suspended sentence, despite admitting that he downloaded 600 child abuse images.
Judge Samuel Wiggs said there was “no public interest” in sending him straight to prison and handed Finlay a six-month prison sentence suspended for two years.
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Finlay was Bournemouth Borough Council's lead officer for online safety for children and a governor at Bourne Academy.
The decision sparked anger among children's charities that the sentence was “too lenient” and Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood wrote to the Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC to ask for the case to be examined as part of the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme.
Today his office said the final tally of complaints about the sentence in the Robert Finlay case was 15.
But they said after reviewing papers from the Crown Prosecution Service the case does not apply to the scheme.
The spokesman added: “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.”
Finlay, 53, of Barnes Crescent, East Howe, pleaded guilty to 17 offences committed between January 1, 2009, and January 10 this year.
A total of 601 images were found on his home computer, including some of the most serious graded images of children being sexual abused by adults.
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