THE Attorney General has decided to refer the sentence of disgraced BBC presenter Stuart Hall to the Court of Appeal for review, following complaints that it was unduly lenient, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office revealed.
Hall directly exploited his role as a popular BBC presenter 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, the presenter 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 he was rearrested before he later admitted the sexual offences.
But the length of the jail term was immediately criticised as “unduly lenient” by shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry, who urged Dominic Grieve to look at the matter. Harriet Harman, deputy leader of the Labour party, also added to calls for the sentence to be referred.
Emily Thornberry, shadow attorney general, said: “Labour called on the Attorney General to refer Stuart Hall’s sentence to the Court of Appeal back in June and I welcome his decision to do so. A sentence of 15 months does not appear to reflect the gravity of his crimes, which included a sexual assault on a girl as young as nine.
“Fifteen months is substantially less than the maximum sentence that was available to the judge and it is right that it is being looked at again.
“We need to be confident that the criminal justice system takes child abuse seriously. Only that way will victims feel confident that they can come forward.
“It is now for the Court of Appeal to decide whether the sentence should be changed.”