Robert George Starr 21 Dec 1998 Court of Appeal

Redaction

Some reports have had victims names redacted and some assault details redacted.

This is a difficult balance-  normally I would think that  I should not “censor” details but on consultation with various people I have taken the decision to redact. This is mainly to protect victims, their friends and relatives from unnecessary detail and to stop the gratification of those who seek salacious details.

In addition to the obvious “victims redaction” to protect victims, there may also be “assault redacted” across most of the spectrum of abuse. This may obscure sometimes the legal reason for the appeal, but should make no large difference to the vital information for researchers that these documents contain. That vital information is mainly names of the perpetrators, past addresses, the actual charges the perpetrators faced – on which newspapers are pathetically inaccurate and this information enables the links between people and places and abuse at various times to be ascertained.

If you think that the balance is not correct or that a particular redaction needs reconsideration, please say.

Cathy Fox Blog Index and Timeline of Court Appeals and Documentation [2]

This particular appeal is redacted for details of assaults.

Robert Starr was the first person convicted as a result of Operation Goldfinch in South Wales in 1998.[3]

[1998] EWCA Crim J1221-14

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL CRIMINAL DIVISION

Monday 21st December 1998

The Vice President

Regina

v.

Robert George Starr


Computer Aided Transcript of the Stenograph Notes of Smith Bernal Reporting Limited 180 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2HD Tel No: 0171 421 4040 Fax No: 0171 831 8838 (Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)

MR P MURPHY appeared on behalf of the Appellant

JUDGMENT

(As approved by the Court)

Monday 21st December 1998

MR JUSTICE GARLAND: On 12th March 1998, in the Crown Court at Cardiff, this applicant, who we treat as an appellant, pleaded guilty to nine offences of indecent assault on male persons and, on 7th April, before His Honour Judge Prosser, was sentenced to a total of 15 years’ imprisonment. Two counts of the indictment were ordered to lie on the file and six similar offences were taken into consideration.

The applicant renewed his application for leave to appeal against sentence after refusal by the Single Judge. We have granted leave and treat this hearing as the hearing of the appeal.

The applicant was a single man of 49, who lived with his parents in Cardiff. He worked at a local hospital as a dental photographer. In 1973 he left that employment to work at an assessment centre, dealing with children placed into the care of the local authority.

He worked there for about 6 months and then went back to being a dental photographer, but continued as a voluntary worker at the assessment centre and also did voluntary work at a youth centre.

The offences with which the court were concerned took place between 1975 and 1983. The victims, who are now of course mature, were identified only by letters of the alphabet.

Count 1 involved an 11 year old boy, A, who was admitted to the assessment centre in July 1975 and discharged in October. The appellant took the boy to his place of work, sat next to him, undid his trousers [assault redacted] Afterwards he took photographs of the boy,[assault redacted]. On that count he was sentenced to 4  years’ imprisonment.

Count 2 involved a separate occasion when the appellant and other staff from the assessment centre took the same boy and others camping. There was a heavy downpour, which made the boy’s tent unsuitable to sleep in. He ended up sharing a tent with the appellant. He was woken up in the night by the appellant [assault redacted], and left the tent to tell other staff that he was not prepared to stay with the appellant. For that offence he was also sentenced to 4 years’ imprisonment, but concurrent.

Count 3 involved an 11 year old boy, B, who was at the assessment centre for a period of some three or four months. The appellant took the boy to the dental photography department. Whilst there he took photographs, but before so doing asked the boy to take off his clothes, which the boy refused to do. The appellant then [assault redacted] but the boy pushed him away. On that count he was also sentenced to 4 years’ imprisonment.

Counts 4 and 5 involved the same boy, and his 10 year old brother. They stayed at the home of the appellant’s parents because their mother was in prison.

The appellant’s bedroom only had a single bed and the boys took turns to sleep in it with the appellant. He took that opportunity to [Assault redacted]

The boy, C, the younger brother, became frightened and upset because he knew that the behaviour was unnatural. He was unable to forget the incident and, as a result of the subsequent enquiry, received counselling. On count 4, the learned judge passed a further 4 year sentence; on count 5, a 3 year sentence, all concurrent with one with the other, but consecutive to the 4 years sentence on count 1.

Counts 6 and 7 involved a boy, D, who was 15. He too was at the assessment centre for about 6 months. He had been admitted to care because of physical abuse at home. During the camping trip the appellant [assault redacted] on not only the first night but subsequent nights.

A few weeks after the camping trip, he took the boy to the dental photography department, and took photographs of the boy naked and also [assault redacted]. On those two counts, he was sentenced to 4 years’ imprisonment concurrent, one with the other but again consecutive to the previous sentences.

Count 8 involved a 13 year old boy, E. He was at the assessment centre for about 4 months. He too was taken to the photographic department, photographed [assault redacted]. The appellant told the boy not to tell anyone, because it would be the boy who would get into trouble.

The boy did feel unable to tell anyone, because he thought they would call him a liar and other children would laugh at him and he began to wet the bed. On that count, the appellant was sentenced to 3 years consecutive to the previous sentence, in aggregate bringing the total to 15 years.

Count 11 involved a 13 year old, who was never in the care system but who the appellant met at a youth club. The boy went on three trips with the appellant, one camping and the others to bed and breakfast accommodation and, while at that accommodation with other boys, he shared a double bed with the appellant, who [assault redacted]. For that offence he was sentenced to 3 years but concurrent to the former, making 15 years in all.

The offences taken into consideration involved one boy referred to as G, who the appellant met at a youth club, and again on a camping trip he [assault redacted]. Four offences involved another 13 year old, whose family was befriended by the appellant during a holiday in Marbella. After returning from holiday the appellant took the boy on camping trips in Wales and in the Midlands and on each occasion [assault redacted]

The last matter taken into consideration involved a boy the appellant met once again at a youth club. He took the boy camping and [assault redacted].

All the offences came to light as a result of a major investigation by South Wales police into abuse at various institutions for children, in the 1970s and 1980s. The appellant was arrested in October 1997. His home was searched and a large number of videos and photographs were seized. The seizures included a fantasy file, containing naked and semi naked pictures of young boys cut from magazines and other publications. As Johnson J has mentioned, one of them was a photograph of a very young child, aged 18 months to 2 year perhaps with its arms and legs bound with straps.

When interviewed, the appellant denied any act of indecency, denied taking any photographs, but he admitted that he found the fantasy file sexually arousing, and it is suggested that it had constituted for him a substitute for the commission of further offences.

He was re-arrested on two occasions and further questioned and eventually, in March 1998, admitted indecently assaulting a number of boys and also revealed the matters which he wished to have taken into consideration.

He was regarded by the author of the pre-sentence report as being at high risk of re-offending and, as is so often the case, he was minimising the damage done to the children.

Today, a number of points have been put very succinctly and with outstanding ability, by Mr Murphy on his behalf, in endeavouring to persuade us that the totality of the sentences ought to be reduced below a level of 12 years. He prays in aid the appellant’s good character. He asks whether he was given sufficient credit for his pleas of guilty. He points out, as is the case and indeed so often the case for offences of this kind, that they were committed a long time in the past.

He comments, and we think it no more than that, that the sentencing remarks may suggest that the judge was relying on section 2(2)(b), without in fact making it clear that he was doing so, the relevant passage appears at 3D to 4C of the sentencing remarks in which, in our view, all the learned judge was saying was that the severe sentences are commensurate with the nature of these offences.

We take the view that there was, to some extent, a failure to give credit for the pleas that were ultimately entered. This was sustained abuse, over a long period, in breach of trust, by a man preying on vulnerable young boys, at the assessment centre, the youth club, and by introducing himself to the boy’s family while on holiday.

We take the view that, of course, a 15 year sentence, in totality, would predicate something of the order of 20 years after a contested trial. However, we take the view that this is one of the more serious cases of this kind, persistent abuse by an overt paedophile, of vulnerable young boys. We take the view that an appropriate sentence would be one of 12 years in all, rather than 15. What we propose to do is to make the 3 year sentence on count 8, concurrent with the other sentences rather than consecutive, thereby reducing the total from 15 years to 12.

MR MURPHY: May I raise the question of legal aid.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: You may certainly have legal aid, we were very impressed, although not moved by your submissions.

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. These links are generally UK based.

  • The Sanctuary for the Abused [A] has advice on how to prevent triggers.
  • National Association for People Abused in Childhood [B] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups.
  • Other useful sites are One in Four [C]
  • and Havoca [D].
  • Useful post on Triggers [E]  from SurvivorsJustice [F] blog.
  • Jim Hoppers pages on Mindfulness [G]  and Meditation [H] may be useful.
  • Hwaairfan blog An Indigenous Australian Approach to Healing Trauma  [J]
  • Survivors UK for victims and survivors of male rape or the sexual abuse of men [K]
  • Voicing CSA group [L] helps arrange survivors meetings in your area

Links

[2] 2015 Cathy Fox Blog Index / Timeline of Court Appeals and Documentation https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/a-timeline-of-court-and-ewca-documentation-on-cathy-fox-blog/

[3] 2016 Oct 2 Wales Online Scandal of children’s homes abuse payouts http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/scandal-childrens-homes-abuse-payouts-2302947

 

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3 Responses to Robert George Starr 21 Dec 1998 Court of Appeal

  1. If one person writes a statement for Police Alleging you have committed a crime, -THEN YOU DID!
    But if YOU stand before the very same Police and say THAT PERSON is lying, – THEN YOU ARE LYING !

    Because the ALLEGATION gives the Police the Power to Torture you mentally and physically, Remove your freedom, Judge you and commit you to trial, then you are already condemned, even if you are innocent.

    But in a court of Law, ALLEGATION CARRIES THE LABEL OF “INADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE” does it not ?

    Too bad Australia!…………….YOU ARE ALL A SITTING TARGET FOR SOMEONES SPITEFUL VENGEANCE, EVEN IF YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG WHATSOEVER.!

    Good Luck Sports!………..just don’t make an enemy of anyone or answer a DOCS WORKER BACK.

    THIS IS AUSTRALIA 2016 – THE LAND OF THE FREE !
    That is those of use who have so far evaded having had ALLEGATIONS MADE AGAINST THEM IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY BONA FIDE FACTUAL EVIDENCE TO BACK THE ALLEGATIONS AS BEING VERACIOUS !

  2. Pingback: An Index and Timeline of Court & Court of Appeal, EWCA and Scottish Documents on Cathy Fox Blog | cathy fox blog

  3. Pingback: Robert George Starr 21 Dec 1998 Court of Appeal | cathy fox blog | fighting for the rights of childrens human rights

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