Appeal Court to review sentence on rapist, 15

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The Independent Online
THE Attorney General is to refer the sentence on a 15-year-old rapist, which allowed him to walk free, to the Court of Appeal for review. The judge ordered him to pay his victim pounds 500 compensation for a 'good holiday'.

Sir Nicholas Lyell QC said he had considered the full circumstances of the case at Newport Crown Court this month and had applied to the Court of Appeal for leave to refer the sentence for review. The schoolboy was found guilty of raping the girl, also 15, after she refused to give him a kiss on his birthday. The court was told that he grabbed her in a headlock and dragged her into a wood.

There was an outcry from police and the victim's family after Judge John Prosser freed the boy, from Cwmbran, Gwent, on a three-year supervision order and ordered him to pay her pounds 500 'for a good holiday to get over her trauma'.

The judge described the boy, who was also convicted of indecent assault, as 'one of the most popular boys in the school' and said that in a detention centre he would learn more bad habits.

Judge Prosser told the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons: 'If I thought for one moment that would help the little girl you defiled I would do so, but it won't. This little girl is still suffering, but she should go out wherever she is holding her head high.'

His victim, who is studying for 10 GCSEs and has suffered taunts from pupils at the school after the boy was freed, rejected the payment. Her father condemned the sentence saying 'rape is a man's crime not a boy's crime. He should serve a man's sentence'.

John Over, Chief Constable of Gwent, asked the Attorney General's office to investigate the sentence because police were concerned about its 'inadequacies'.

This led to yesterday's announcement by Sir Nicholas that he intended using the powers under section 36 of the 1988 Criminal Justice Act. Judge Prosser said he would not preside over sex cases until Sir Nicholas had ruled on the sentence.

The Lord Chancellor Lord Mackay today called for the papers on the case from the Crown Prosecution Service, but he is not expected to take any action.

The Court of Appeal has the same powers of sentencing as the trial judge. It could order the youth to be detained for up to 12 months in a young offenders' institution. He could also be sentenced under section 53 of the 1933 Children and Young Persons Act, which allows a juvenile to serve up to the maximum the offence would carry for an adult - life in the case of rape.

The boy has since been expelled from the school.