Stuart Hall's 'unduly lenient' 15-month sentence for sex crimes to be referred to Court of Appeal

More than 150 people demanded Attorney General's Office reviewed sentence

Stuart Hall's could see his 'unduly lenient' 15-month sentence for a string of child sex charges lengthened after it was referred to the Court of Appeal today.

Hall, 83, admitted to 14 counts of indecent assault against girls as young as nine between 1967 and 1987 at Preston Crown Court in May, but more than 150 people came forward to demand the Attorney General's Office review his sentence after he was jailed for 15 months.

An AGO spokeswoman said: "Having carefully reviewed this case, the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC MP, has decided to refer the sentence of Stuart Hall 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 the sentence."

Hall directly exploited his role as a popular BBC presenter on shows such as It's a Knockout to target four of his victims, while he assaulted another four on the pretence of giving elocution lessons to them at his home.

Before entering his guilty plea in April, Hall had made a public pronouncement on the steps of a court, describing all the claims against him as "cruel, pernicious and spurious".

Hall, from Wilmslow, Cheshire, was arrested and subsequently charged on 5 December last year with indecently assaulting three young girls.

More women came forward as a result of publicity and Hall was rearrested before he later admitted the sexual offences.

The length of the jail term was immediately criticised as "unduly lenient" by shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry, who urged Mr Grieve to look at the matter.

Harriet Harman, deputy leader of the Labour party, also added to calls for the sentence to be referred.

The Court of Appeal usually lists cases referred for being unduly lenient in about five to seven weeks.

The Attorney General said earlier this year that the number of sentences flagged to his office for being too lenient had surged to a record high in 2012.

The number of possibly unduly lenient sentences (ULS) drawn to the Attorney General's attention in 2012 rose to 435, from 377 in 2011 and 342 in 2010.

Of the 435 sentences sent to the Attorney General, 344 sentences were eligible for consideration.

And of these, 82 cases were heard in the Court of Appeal, with 62 offenders seeing an increase in their sentence as a result.

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