Islington paedophile may have sentence extended
PUBLISHED: 08:55 27 January 2012
The government’s top legal advisor has suggested the sentence given to an Islington member of an international paedophile ring may be “unduly lenient”.
Simon Hilton, of Wolsey Road, Newington Green, was sentenced to four years in prison with an extended licence period of six years in December for his part in a Portsmouth-based child abuse network with global connections.
Now the sentence may be reviewed by the Court of Appeal after attorney-general Dominic Grieve MP QC applied for permission to refer the case last week.
The sentences of two other members of the ring – Robert Hathaway, 37, of Tyseley Road, Somers Town, who received an indeterminate sentence for public protection, with a minimum of six years, and Melissa Noon, 30, of the same address who also received four years – may also be looked at.
The attorney-general has the power to ask the Court of Appeal to review sentences which he thinks are ‘‘unduly lenient’’ – so light that a judge could not reasonably have handed it down.
Permission for a full deliberation by the court can only be given by three judges from the Court of Appeal.
If they agree to a review, and the court subsequently agrees with the attorney-general’s protest, it can increase the sentences.
During the original hearing at Portsmouth Crown Court in December, Judge Roger Hetherington said the case involved “systematic and continuous sexual abuse of the worst sort” and told Hilton he had acted to satisfy his “selfish” needs.
The 29-year-old graphic designer met ringleader Hathaway online and visited Portsmouth twice in 2010 and abused a child.
Evidence in the trial included more than 14,000 images and 300 videos of children being abused. In mitigation, Hilton’s barrister Andrew Turton said he was depressed following a break-up and felt sick over what he had done.
Hilton was sentenced for three counts of sexual assault of a child, two of causing a child to engage in sexual activity, three of arranging a child sex offence, five of possession of indecent images of children and one of possession of extreme pornography.
He was found guilty of one charge and admitted a host of others. He was also given a sexual offences prevention order.
Referring a case to the Court of Appeal usually takes six to seven weeks.
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