Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Nasty Business

If it's going to be a heavyweight case, we can usually tell by the courtroom atmosphere. In this case there were three detectives sitting in the well of the court, a reporter had turned up from the local paper, and the gallery had a dozen or so people in. The defendant, a balding middle-aged man, came up in custody, and we heard an outline of the facts from a thick file held by a serious-looking prosecutor. The man had been seen performing a sexual act in the locality, seeking out places where young girls were present. A police operation had caught him fairly swiftly, and he had made full and frank admissions in interview, saying that it had been his hope that one of the girls would eventually touch him. He was glad to have been caught because he could not help himself. He did not apply for bail. His solicitor agreed with the prosecution's facts, and we swiftly sent the case to the Crown Court to be dealt with.
The courtroom relaxed noticeably after he and the police had gone, and when we discussed it over coffee we agreed that this looked like a case where an Indeterminate (IPP) sentence was highly likely. Because of the potential risk he poses, I can see him being kept inside for very many years. It's hard to see any alternative.

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