Stuart Hall escapes 8-year prison sentence

DISGRACED broadcaster Stuart Hall has been sentenced to an extra two years and six months in jail for two counts of indecently assaulting a girl.

Stuart Hall is led in handcuffs for sentencing. Picture: Warren Smith

Hall, 84, from Cheshire, was found guilty a week ago of indecent assault in a majority jury verdict at Preston Crown Court.

He would have received a “considerably greater” sentence if he had been prosecuted under current laws, the judge said at his trial yesterday.

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Mr Justice Turner said if the offences had been committed recently, they would be classed as assault by penetration and sexual activity with a child. The former, in Hall’s circumstances, would have led to a minimum eight-year jail term.

The ex-It’s a Knockout presenter was cleared last week of 15 counts of rape in relation to two women who claimed they were sexually assaulted by him between 1976 and 1981.

He was convicted of indecently assaulting one of the complainants when she was under the age of 16, and had earlier pleaded guilty to another indecent assault on the same girl when she was 13.

The charge Hall admitted involved an incident at a dinner party where he crept into the bedroom of his victim, known as Girl B, and assaulted her.

The married father-of-two is currently serving a 30-month jail term after he pleaded guilty last year to indecently assaulting 13 other young girls, aged between nine and 17, over a 20-year period.

He is not due for early release from that sentence until September. His latest sentence will run consecutively from that date and means Hall will be a free man by December 2015 at the latest as he serves up to half his new sentence in custody before his release on licence.

Mr Justice Turner said: “The sentence for each offence has to be limited to the maximum sentence at the date when the offence was committed.

“This, therefore, is a ceiling beyond which this court is not permitted to go.

“It is a long-standing principle that no-one may be punished more severely for an offence than the extent to which he or she could have been punished under the law that prevailed at the time of the offence.

“In that regard, therefore, the hands of this court are tied.”

The prosecution brought charges of rape and indecent assault against Hall under the Sexual Offences Act 1956, which applied at the time the offences were said to have taken place.

But the jury heard it could not bring allegations – under the same act – of unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under 16 because of a 12-month limit to when a complaint could be made after the offence. Hall’s defence was largely that he had sex with the girls but it was consensual and he was not a rapist.

Hall did not give evidence at his trial but his lawyers did not dispute that he had sexual intercourse with both complainants.

Last June, he was jailed for 15 months but the Court of Appeal ruled the sentence was “inadequate” and it was doubled a month later. The appeal judges were told that Hall was “not in particularly robust health” and could die in prison.

He was stripped of his OBE for broadcasting and charity in the wake of his convictions.

An investigation into Hall’s conduct has been carried out by retired High Court judge Dame Linda Dobbs and her inquiry forms part of the Dame Janet Smith Review into Jimmy Savile’s offences while working at the BBC