Paul Edward Prestidge 22 March 2016 Court of Appeal

The appeal against sentence was dismissed.

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 details, there may also be “assault redacted” across most of the spectrum of abuse. The assaults are left in the charges, but mainly redacted when repeated with reference to the individual. I have also redacted unnecessary detail of assaults.

Redaction 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, institutions where assaults occurred, the actual charges the perpetrators faced, and dates – on which newspapers are pathetically inaccurate and this information enables the links between people and places and abuse at various times to be ascertained.

Some transcripts may have been subject to automatic reading softwware and whilst effort has been made to correct these, the text should not be regarded as definitive.

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

This particular appeal is not redacted

Index of Newspaper and Journal articles on this blog [1]

Index of Court Appeals on this blog [2]

[2016] EWCA Crim 470

No. 2016/00327/A2

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL

Tuesday 22 ndMarch 2016

Lord Justice Gross

Regina v Paul Edward Prestidge


Computer Aided Transcription by Wordwave International Ltd trading as DTI 165 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2DY Telephone No: 020 7404 1400; Fax No 020 7404 1424 (Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)

Mr B Hilliard (Solicitor Advocate) appeared on behalf of the Appellant

JUDGMENT

(As Approved by the Court)

Tuesday 22nd March 2016

Lord Justice Gross: I shall ask His Honour Judge Kramer QC to give the judgment of the court.

His Honour Judge Kramer QC:

1. On 4th December 2015 in the Crown Court at Truro the appellant, who is now 36 years old, pleaded guilty to an offence of notification of false information on 28th May 2010 in purported compliance with the notification requirements, contrary to section 91(1)(b) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (count 1). No evidence was offered on count 2, an allegation of failing to comply with the notification requirements contrary to section 91(1)(a) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, and a verdict of not guilty was recorded. On 18th December 2015 he was sentenced by His Honour Judge Carr to 18 months’ imprisonment on count 1. He was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £120 and was required to comply with the notification requirements for ten years.

2. On 17th May 2007 in the Crown Court at Plymouth the appellant had been convicted of two offences of possessing an indecent or pseudo-photograph of a child, contrary to section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988; four offences of taking indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children, contrary to section 1 of the Protection of Children Act 1978; one offence of making an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of children, contrary to section 1(a) of the Protection of Children Act 1978; and an offence of voyeurism, contrary to section 67(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. His offending had taken place over a period of three years and had involved making and retaining child abuse images. Examples of his offending included a time when at a cub camp the appellant asked boys to strip off. He would then take pictures of them dancing. On another occasion he played games in which at least one 9 year old boy was stripped naked. For that offending he was sentenced to a total of 18 months’ imprisonment, made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order; he was required to comply with the notice requirements under the Sexual Offences Act 2003; and he was disqualified for life from working with children. A Sony laptop computer, which contained indecent images of young males and other children, and floppy disks were ordered to be forfeit. Accordingly, in 2010 he was subject to the notification requirements within the terms of section 80 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

3. On 28th May 2010 the appellant reported to Newquay Police Station that he proposed to travel to Spain for a short family holiday with his parents and brother. He completed a police form stating that his return date was to be 27th June 2010. That was untrue.

4. Police enquiries revealed that, in fact, the appellant had travelled with a 17 year old boy. He had made a one-way booking with a ferry company and did not return on the date he had specified. Enquiries also revealed that he had been working as a teacher with children and young people at schools in Spain. It is said that whilst there he had contact with the Spanish Police and was informed that the restrictions that applied to him here did not apply in Spain.

5. However, once he had been discovered there, he left in February 2014. He went to Cambodia, where he worked in an international school. In Cambodia it was discovered that he was a convicted sex offender in this country. Concerns were expressed by parents and staff as to whether or not the appellant may have harmed their children.

6. On 17th October 2015 he was arrested at his home in Cambodia. He was deported back to this country, leaving Cambodia on 26th October 2015.

7. The notification requirements were superseded by an interim Sexual Harm Prevention Order made on 17th December 2015.

8. The appellant appeals against his sentence by leave of the single judge on the ground that the sentence was manifestly excessive and wrong in principle, because: (i) the judge disregarded the contact that the appellant had with the authorities whilst in Spain; (ii) he gave too much weight to information from the National Crime Agency; and (iii) he failed to give the appellant credit for his early guilty plea.

9. When sentencing, His Honour Judge Carr expressly stated that he did not sentence on the basis that the appellant had committed any contact offences, for there was no evidence to that effect. But he said that the parents of the children were concerned about the realisation that they had placed their trust in someone unworthy of that trust. Moreover, what the appellant had done was “something more serious than simply a failure to notify for the purposes of a holiday that overstayed. It was a deliberate attempt to avoid the notification to allow you to once again work with children in countries where the checks either took time or did not occur at all”.

10. We agree. In the circumstances of this case we do not accept the proposition in the Advice on Appeal that “the false information given by [the appellant] was relatively innocuous”. The judge was, in our judgment, right to regard this offence as one crossing the custody threshold. The sentencing guidelines do not cover offences contrary to section 91 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, for which the maximum sentence is five years’ imprisonment.

11. In this case the original offences for which the appellant was sentenced in 2007 were serious offences involving young children, in particular young boys. The breach in 2010 was deliberate and dishonest. It led to the appellant flouting the restrictions placed on him, prohibiting him from working with children, which he proceeded to do over a significant period. However, the breach took place some three years after the imposition of the requirements to give notice. This was the first, albeit serious, breach of the requirements. There was no evidence of any actual unlawful contact between the appellant and the children in Spain and Cambodia.

12. We have noted that in his sentencing remarks the judge, unfortunately, made no reference to any credit that he might have given to the appellant for his guilty plea, except to note at the outset that he had done so. The preliminary hearing took place on 24th November 2015, but the respondents agree that the appellant pleaded guilty at what was in effect the earliest practicable opportunity. Assuming full credit to have been given, even though that was not expressly stated, the sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment imports a starting point of 27 months.

13. Despite Mr Hilliard’s valiant submissions, we have concluded that the judge was entitled to take a serious view of the appellant’s deliberately dishonest conduct, designed as it was to avoid the notification provisions, thereby undermining the intended protection that the provisions are intended to provide. A starting point, after a trial, of 27 months’ imprisonment for the appellant’s criminal conduct was not in our judgment excessive.

14. Accordingly, the sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment was amply justified. In those circumstances this appeal is dismissed.

Index of Newspaper and Journal articles on this blog [1]

Index of Court Appeals on this blog [2]

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

[1] Index of Newspaper and Journal articles on this blog https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2015/05/23/newspaper-stories-index-timeline/

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

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About cathy fox blog on Child Abuse

the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free...
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One Response to Paul Edward Prestidge 22 March 2016 Court of Appeal

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

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