The Court of Appeal today ruled the sentences given to two rapists were unduly lenient and increased them by 11 and 5 years respectively after a submission by Solicitor General Robert Buckland QC MP.
Both sentences were referred to the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme, and presented in Court by the Solicitor General in person.
Steven Norris was convicted of Rape and ABH and originally sentenced to a total of 10 years imprisonment at Southend Crown Court in July this year. Robert Lee was convicted of Indecent Assault and sentenced to 9 years imprisonment at Isleworth Crown Court.
Today, after a submission made in person in court by the Solicitor General, the Court of Appeal increased both sentences in recognition that the original sentences were unduly lenient. Norris saw his sentence increase to 21 years; with the court ruling 16 years should be custodial. Lee saw his sentence increase to 14 years imprisonment.
Solicitor General Robert Buckland QC MP said:
Over a long period of time, both of these offenders abused their victims who were left traumatised by the assaults. Both offenders also denied all the allegations, meaning the victims had to testify in court.
I am very pleased that the Court of Appeal has today increased these sentences and I hope that this encourages victims of sexual abuse to continue to come forward.
Background to the cases:
In February 2015, Steven Norris was convicted of two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The jury could not reach verdicts in relation to four counts of rape and the case was listed for re-trial. In June 2015 he was convicted of all four counts of rape and sentencing was adjourned for reports. On the 20 July 2015, Steven Norris was sentenced to an overall sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and was also made the subject of a restraining order for an indefinite period (until further order).
Steven Norris raped his victim regularly over a period of approximately 3½ years, sometimes assaulting her at the same time. On one occasion he pushed his victim from height, causing fractures to both of her feet. Upon arrest Norris denied all charges of physical violence and claimed the sexual intercourse had been consensual. He maintained his not guilty plea in court meaning his victim had to testify at court.
On 16 July 2015, Robert Lee was convicted of three offences of indecent assault and was acquitted of other counts of indecent assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. On the 23 July 2015, Lee was sentenced to a total sentence of 9 years’ imprisonment. A Sexual Harm Prevention Order was made until further notice and he was ordered to remain on the Sex Offenders Register for life.
Robert Lee committed a series of indecent assaults upon his victim between May 1999 and December 2003, at a time when the victim was aged between 5 and 9. Lee would sexually abuse the victim on a regular basis and threatened his victim, who due to her age, believed that she would never see her mother again if she did not do as he asked. He would also scare his victim by telling her that she would go to prison. In interview, the offender denied any sexual abuse and said that the victim’s allegations were rubbish and lies.