THE former Christchurch firefighter who was jailed for raping a schoolboy had his “unduly lenient” sentence increased by appeal judges yesterday.
David Bryant, 63, of Grove Road East, was convicted of the offence last year and jailed at Bournemouth Crown Court in January for six years by Judge Samuel Wiggs.
The court had heard that Bryant, along with colleague Dennis Goodman, now deceased, had taken turns to attack their victim, Danny Day, who was 14 at the time and waived his right to anonymity after the trial, after taking him to play darts at Christchurch fire station in 1977.
Mr Day was inspired to speak up more than 30 years later by the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Yesterday, after a reference to the Court of Appeal by the solicitor general, Oliver Heald, three senior judges increased the term to eight-and-a-half years.
Lord Justice Treacy said the six-year term did not properly reflect the aggravating features of the case, including the devastating impact on Mr Day’s life.
The court heard the then 14-year-old met Bryant and Mr Goodman, who was in his 40s, when they drank in the club where he worked.
Yesterday barrister Alison Morgan, representing the solicitor general, argued that although Bryant had lived a blameless life since the offence and had worked in the community and for charities, that did not justify such a short sentence for such a serious crime.
“We maintain that this offence must have involved planning between this offender and Goodman. This could not have been a spontaneous event.”
Giving judgment, Lord Justice Treacy, who considered the case with Mr Justice Sweeney and Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC, said the impact on Mr Day’s life could not be overlooked.
“This offence was not one which was complete when the physical act was over, but instead was something which has remained with the victim over the years in a harmful way,” he said.
In a victim impact statement, Mr Day, who sat in court throughout the hearing, said he felt as though he had been robbed of 35 years of his life, since the memories were always with him.
The judge concluded: “We accept the solicitor general’s submission that the sentence was an unduly lenient one. It didn’t adequately reflect the aggravating features of the offence and it afforded too much weight to the available mitigation.
“In our judgment, balancing the aggravating and mitigating features the minimum appropriate sentence in this case is one of eight-and-a-half years.”
SENTENCING Bryant at Bournemouth Crown Court in January, Judge Samuel Wiggs said he was jailing him for the least possible time he was allowed, reduced from a starting point for the offence of ten years imprisonment.
“It is difficult to think of anybody who has shown, over the years, a stronger sense of civic and public duty than you have,” he said.
“It may be as your counsel said: that you were trying to repay in some way what you did on that day almost 40 years ago.”