Paedophile who received suspended jail term after prosecution branded 13-year-old victim 'predatory' is ordered to serve immediate two-year prison sentence following review

Court of Appeal judges have been asked to decide whether the punishment handed to Neil Wilson was unduly lenient

A paedophile who received a suspended jail term after the prosecution branded his 13-year-old victim “predatory” has been ordered to serve an immediate two-year prison sentence following a review.

Three Court of Appeal judges ruled that Neil Wilson's sentence of 12 months suspended for two years was "plainly and without doubt unduly lenient" after he admitted engaging in sexual activity with the child, as well as offences of making indecent images of a child and possession of an extreme pornographic image.

The 41-year-old’s original suspended sentence had been referred to the Court of Appeal by Attorney General Dominic Grieve. The new Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, sitting with Mr Justice Henriques and Mr Justice Blake, made the decision to quash that sentence earlier today, ordering Wilson - who was not present in court - to surrender to police in York by 6pm this evening.

The sentencing row began shortly after the case was heard at London's Southwark Crown Court in August when it emerged that prosecuting barrister Robert Colover had labelled Wilson's 13-year-old victim “predatory” and “sexually experienced”.

Following the case, the Crown Prosecution Service announced that Mr Colover had agreed to resign from the CPS Rape Panel of advocates, admitting his description of the girl was inappropriate. The CPS added, however, that Mr Colover "will remain on our general advocate panel and will still be instructed in other criminal cases".

A number of additional complaints have been recorded over Judge Nigel Peters' remarks that the girl's looks and behaviour would be taken into account during Wilson's sentencing. These comments are now being "considered" by the Judicial Conduct and Investigations Office.

At the Court of Appeal today, Lord Thomas said that how the prosecuting counsel "came to make the remarks he did is not a matter, as he is not present, we can investigate ourselves".

He added: "But in any event it is the duty of the court to sentence on the facts before it. Counsel is there to assist... The fact that counsel makes a fundamental error in introducing a factor that is thought to be relevant cannot in any way affect the power of this court in determining what is the correct sentence."

Lord Thomas went on: "This is a case where there is no dispute as to what actually happened. It is simply a case where the judge and counsel were in error that it was relevant, as a mitigating factor, that the sexual activity had been initiated by the victim. That was wrong."

He stressed that the law was there to protect those under 16 from sexual abuse, and agreed with the Attorney General that children who encouraged sexual activity needed "more protection, not less".

Speaking after the hearing, the Attorney General said: "Neil Wilson exploited a young and vulnerable girl... He pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child, making indecent photographs of a child and possessing extreme pornography.

"I asked the Court of Appeal to examine whether the sentence was appropriate, given the seriousness of the offences, and I am pleased that they have found that this sentence was unduly lenient and have imposed an immediate sentence of imprisonment."

Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
Life & Style
life
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Arts & Entertainment
Back in the suit: There are only so many variations you can spin on the lives or adventures of Peter Parker
filmReview: Almost every sequence and set-up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems familiar from some earlier superhero film
Life & Style
Father and son: Michael Williams with son Edmund
lifeAs his son’s bar mitzvah approaches, CofE-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys he’s experienced in learning about his family’s other faith
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
comedy... writes Jenny Collier, the comedian whose recent show was cancelled because there were 'too many women' on the bill
News
House proud: keeping up with the Joneses now extends to children's playhouses
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
Life & Style
Stir it up: the writer gets a lichen masterclass from executive chef Vivek Singh of the Cinnamon restaurants
food + drinkLichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines
Extras
indybest
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival
filmKen Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
News
The academic, Annamaria Testa, has set out on her website a list of 300 English words that she says Italians ought to stop using
newsAcademic speaks out against 'Italianglo' - the use of English words in Italian language
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit