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Finlay sentence decision a mistake, says Bournemouth MP
A BOURNEMOUTH MP has accused the judge who freed sex offender Ian Finlay of being “out of touch”.
And he branded the decision not to jail him “a mistake”.
Tobias Ellwood battled for a longer sentence for Bournemouth Borough Council’s former lead officer for online safety for children after he pleaded guilty to downloading 600 child abuse images.
However, the Attorney General’s office announced on Wednesday that the case could not be reviewed under the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme.
The MP for Bournemouth East has now met with Dominic Grieve QC to voice his concerns about the limitations of the scheme.
He said: “The Attorney General has confirmed to me that he is unable to use the scheme to review this case.
“The last misdemeanour or crime added to the list was human trafficking, and my understanding is that this was a couple of years ago.
“I made the point quite firmly, I believe, that the list itself needs to be reviewed and considered in relation to the impact of the internet.”
Sentencing Finlay to a suspended sentence, Judge Samuel Wiggs told him: “There is little public interest in sending you immediately to prison.”
But the decision sparked anger amongst charities and campaign groups.
A total of 15 people, including Mr Ellwood, complained to the Attorney General about the sentence.
The MP is now calling for Bournemouth residents shocked by the case to write to the Office for Judicial Complaints.
“There is a very easy and simple complaints procedure on the website, and if enough people express their horror and disgust at this sentence it may prevent this from happening again,” he said.
“If enough people have their say, the Lord Chancellor will be obliged to look into the guidelines being given to judges to help stop this type of sentencing in the long term, even if it cannot help in the case of this individual.”
He added: “I believe Judge Samuel Wiggs is out of touch in terms of his interpretation of the guidelines.
“If people make a complaint, it might stop mistakes like this from ever happening again.”
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