The Solicitor General, Robert Buckland QC MP, who referred the case, appeared today to argue the sentence was unduly lenient.
In 2003, Lawrence Fernandes instigated contact with the victim through an internet chat room. She was 13 years old at the time and he was 9 years older. Aware of her age, he arranged to meet up with the victim. On two occasions he raped her in his car, ignoring her requests for him to stop. On another occasion in a hotel room he sexually assaulted the victim. Fernandes gave his victim cash and numerous gifts, including underwear.
In June this year at Exeter Crown Court, Lawrence Fernandes was convicted of 2 counts of rape, 1 count of indecency with a child and 1 count of indecent assault. In August, he was sentenced to a total of 6 years’ imprisonment. That sentence was referred to the Court of Appeal by the Solicitor General, Robert Buckland QC MP.
Speaking after today’s hearing, Mr Buckland said:
“Lawrence Fernandes groomed his victim, online and when they arranged to meet, he forcibly raped her. He showered her with gifts and money, tricking her into thinking they were in a relationship, but she was a child and was vulnerable.
“I asked the Court of Appeal to look again at his 6 year sentence as his behaviour had a significant impact on his child victim and I hope that today has offered her a degree of comfort knowing that her attacker’s sentence is now 12 years.”