Court to review sentence against paedophile Neil Wilson in 'predatory' girl row

Neil Wilson was allowed to walk free after prosecuting barrister Robert Colover had labelled the young girl 'sexually experienced'

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The Independent Online

The Court of Appeal will review the sentence of a paedophile who was allowed to walk free after his 13-year-old victim was branded "predatory" by the prosecuting barrister.

Neil Wilson, 41, received a 12-month jail sentence suspended for two years after he admitted engaging in sexual activity with the child, as well as offences of making indecent images of a child and offences of possession of an extreme pornographic image.

A row broke out shortly after the case was brought before court when it emerged that Robert Colover, prosecuting, had labelled the young girl "predatory" and "sexually experienced", leading to a public outcry.

As well as receiving a number of complaints, the CPS was confronted by a petition, which now has more than 50,000 signatures, demanding Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer investigate the language used by Mr Colover.

The Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC, has decided to refer Wilson's sentence to the Court of Appeal, where three judges will determine whether or not it is unduly lenient and if they should increase the sentence.

A statement from the Attorney General's Office said: "Having carefully reviewed this case, the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC MP, has decided to refer the sentence of Neil Wilson to the Court of Appeal for review.

"The case will in due course be heard by three Court of Appeal judges who will decide whether or not the sentence is unduly lenient and whether they should increase it."

In addition to Mr Colover's comments, Judge Nigel Peters QC said he took into account the appearance of Wilson's victim and the way she behaved when he sentenced her attacker.

Mr Colover has been suspended from prosecuting sexual offence cases pending a review by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), while Judge Peters' comments are to be investigated by the Office for Judicial Complaints.

Additional reporting by Press Association