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Michael Brown successfully argues for a significant reduction in sentence due to an anomaly in the sentencing guidelines concerning sexual activity with children.

3rd March 2016

The Defendant pleaded guilty to four counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and one count of possessing indecent images of children. The Defendant engaged in a snapchat conversation with two children, during which he expressed a desire to engage in penetrative activity. The Defendant initially wished to meet with the children, however ultimately no such meeting took place as he voluntarily desisted from engaging in any further conversation. The Defendant nonetheless accepted that he had abused a position of trust. 

A purely literal interpretation of the sentencing guidelines would have resulted in a starting point of 5 years custody, with a sentencing range of 4 to 10 years. However Michael referred to the Court of Appeal authority of R v Buchanan [2015] EWCA Crim 172 and successfully argued that a distinction ought to be drawn in the present case as no physical contact actually took place, a factor which was ‘highly material’ to the duration of the sentence. Any intention to meet with the children was fleeting at best and the Defendant had taken significant steps to address his offending. The Judge agreed that there appeared to be an anomaly in the sentencing guidelines and, to that end, reduced the term of imprisonment to one of 9 months accordingly.

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