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Complaints over education official’s sentence for sex offences rise to 12
THE Attorney General has now received 12 complaints about the “unduly lenient” sentence handed to sex offender council official Robert Ian Finlay.
Finlay walked free from Bournemouth Crown Court on Friday after being handed a suspended sentence, despite admitting that he downloaded 600 child abuse images.
Judge Samuel Wiggs told him there was “no public interest” in sending him straight to prison.
Finlay was handed a six month prison sentence suspended for two years.
But the decision sparked anger amongst children’s charities and campaign groups who said an immediate jail term would have “sent a much stronger message that this is a very serious crime”.
The previous week a pensioner was sent to prison for six months for downloading 150 indecent images of children onto his computer.
Yesterday we reported that Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood had referred the case to the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC.
And now a total of 11 others have complained about the sentence handed to Finlay, who was Bournemouth Borough Council’s lead officer for online safety for children and a governor at Bourne Academy.
Finlay, 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 images of children being sexually abused by adults.
Pensioner Iris Bennett, 51, of Westbourne, said she intends to officially complain.
“It is absolutely horrific that somebody in his position should get away and walk free.
“It’s absolutely shameful.
“I work in a charity shop and take the bus and everyone is talking about it.”
Anyone can ask for a crown court sentence to be reviewed by the Attorney General.
A spokesman for the AG said: “It is being examined as part of the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme which only applies to the most serious offences.”
Lawyers have 28 days to consider whether to refer the case to the Court of Appeal.
n IF you think Robert Ian Finlay’s sentence is too lenient and he should be in jail, write a letter to the Attorney General at 20 Victoria Street, London, SW1H 0NF.
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