Folks 18 Jun 2013 Court of Appeal (Church)

Andrew John Folks was vicar in Ambleside but is no longer. The minor indecent assault charged was 2003/4 whilst teaching guitar lessons. Victim 15.

Redaction

Some court 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 redaction” 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 software and whilst effort has been made to correct these, the text should not be regarded as definitive.  Common mistakes in reprinting here are that quotation marks are sometimes not correct, replaced by odd symbols.

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

This appeal is unredacted by cathy fox blog

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

Index of Court Appeals on this blog [2]

[2013] EWCA Crim 1240

No: 201302401/A2

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL

Tuesday, 18th June 2013

Mr Justice Ouseley

Regina

v.

Andrew John Folks

Mr C Evans appeared on behalf of the Applicant


Computer Aided Transcript of the Stenograph Notes of WordWave International Limited A Merrill Communications Company 165 Fleet Street London EC4A 2DY Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7831 8838 (Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)

JUDGMENT

(As Approved by the Court)

1. Mr Justice Ouseley: We should just remind those interested that the provisions of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act apply to this offence and no matter relating to the victim shall be included in any publication during his lifetime if it is likely to lead members of the public to identify him as a victim of such an offence.

2. This is an application for leave to appeal which has been referred by the Registrar to the Full Court. We give leave and the now appellant has waived his right to appear.

3. The appellant, now 70, pleaded guilty to two related offences. One of count 1 of indecent assault on a male, the other, count 2, of an attempted indecent assault on a male. The offences are ones to which the provisions of the Sexual Offences Act 1965 apply. Miss Recorder Landale at Carlisle Crown Court sentenced the appellant on 4th March 2013 to 8 months concurrent on each count. He pleaded guilty on the day of trial but nonetheless was given a full discount in relation to plea it appears.

4. The brief facts were these. The appellant was the local vicar in Ambleside where the complainant grew up. The appellant is no longer a vicar. The complainant started to have guitar lessons with the appellant in the appellant’s home when he was about 13. Between 2003 and 2004, when the complainant was around 15 to 16, the guitar lessons began to change in their nature at the instigation of the appellant.

5. They became more about physical exercise. The appellant began to take an interest in the complainant’s physical appearance, engaging in what the appellant described as “boy talk” with the complainant, commenting on his physique and touching his pectoral and abdominal muscles in an inappropriate manner. He admitted in interview that he had become sexually attracted to the complainant during lessons.

6. That was all count 1. One day after a lesson the appellant asked if he could see the complainant’s penis. The complainant reluctantly obliged but refused to allow the appellant to touch it when the appellant asked if he could do so.

7. Shortly after that the complainant’s parents stopped the lessons as the appellant had written a letter to them which implied that he wished the complainant to come and live with him. The complainant’s father spoke to the appellant around this time but the complainant’s parents noted that the complainant’s behaviour was changing. He had become aggressive and moody. They recalled the complainant complaining that the appellant was waiting for him at the bus stop when he came home from school. Indeed he was clearly becoming obsessed by the boy.

8. Letters were also sent to the complainant by the appellant. The complainant became disgusted by what the appellant had done, it contributed to problems that he already had. It had a very serious impact on this already troubled boy, who was in a difficult relationship with his family. It led to his leaving home at the age of 16 and estrangement from the family for nearly 10 years. He had been unable to discuss these problems with them and feared the reaction of his family.

9. The sentencing judge recognised that the appellant had no previous convictions, had many positive good character references from the community, which he had served well. The pre-sentence report showed that the appellant had not really realised what effect his behaviour had had on the boy and that made him upset and remorseful. He had persuaded himself that no harm was being done. He was married with adult children but had become aware of his attraction to male teenagers. There were no drug, alcohol, mental health or financial problems which underlay the offending. He had retained the support of his family and of his local church. There was a low risk of re-offending and a medium risk of serious harm.

10. The probation officer thought that he could be safely managed in the community under some form of community or suspended sentence order. We have read the good character references which have been supplied to the court, as they were to the sentencing judge.

11. The succinct submissions made by Mr Evans were these. In relation to count 1, the approach adopted by the sentencing judge to the application by analogy of the sexual assault guidelines meant that she has taken a starting point, far too high. The implied starting point was 12 months. The more appropriate starting point on those guidelines would have been a non-custodial sentence in the form of a community order.

12. The second and very important point made by Mr Evans was that count 1 came about because of the candour which the appellant showed in his interview with the police albeit that the plea of guilty was late. It was his candour which brought to light the offending behaviour which underlies count 1, which gave colour and significance to the way in which count 2 was sentenced as well.

13. So far as count 2 is concerned, Mr Evans submits that the guidelines were not specific about attempts. There was no clear explanation from the judge as to how she had dealt with the fact that this was an attempt, it had only been short and had not been persisted in once the complainant had declined to allow his penis to be touched. No sexual offences prevention order was made and the offences were 10 years old.

14. However, first, the judge was right to treat them as a series of linked offending. They had to be taken together and what was in effect a single overall sentence applied to both of them. Secondly, the judge was entirely right that a custodial sentence was called for. There was a very serious breach of trust. The vicar was a trusted person because of his position. He was trusted as a teacher and he was trusted by the boy and the boy’s parents. The offending was planned for the sexual gratification of the appellant. He exhibited obsessive behaviour after the parents had said that there were to be no more lessons and they clearly wanted contact to stop. The vicar should have known that a teenager was inevitably capable of being very troubled by this sort of behaviour and should have realised how damaging and destructive it could be. Instead he blinded himself to what would happen because of his own difficulties in coping with his sexuality. It was not just the boy that suffered; the family has suffered because of his estrangement for many years.

15. The good character is clearly relevant, but this offending plainly passed the custody threshold.

16. The Sentencing Guidelines in relation to sexual assault do not offer much assistance for dealing with the specific circumstances of this offending behaviour and it is not helpful to judging the appropriate level of sentence, to split the offending unduly and focus on very specific elements attributed to each count. Applying the precise language of guidelines which do not apply can wholly miss the gravity of the offending.

17. The appropriate sentence can be arrived at in a variety of ways, whether by taking 12 months as the appropriate starting point for the attempt in count 2, reducing it by, for example, a quarter to account for the fact that it was an attempt and then giving a fuller discount for the plea. Alternatively, one can focus on the behaviour in count 1 as the main driver for the sentence, and in addition to allowing a full discount for plea, recognise that the importance of the candour shown by the appellant here is that it is what led him to be charged with what in many ways is the more serious aspect of the offending behaviour. This candour also related to remorse.

18. It was the appellant’s admissions at interview which led to this offending behavioural being charged. It is important for those who have committed these serious offences to be candid about what they had done and fuller recognition of that particular fact should have been given.

19. We have come to the conclusion that was somewhat too high. Instead of 8 months, to reflect the importance of count 1 and the admissions the sentence should be 6 months to run concurrent on each count. To that extent the appeal is allowed.

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.
  • One in Four [C]
  • 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
  • A Prescription for me blog Various emotional support links [M]
  • ShatterBoys -“Male Survivors Of Childhood Sexual Abuse Inspiring change, Through Shared Experience Whilst Building Connections…Together We Can Heal” [N]

Links

Advertisements

About cathy fox blog on Child Abuse

the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free...
This entry was posted in cathy fox blog, Child Abuse, Child sexual abuse, Lake District, North West and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Folks 18 Jun 2013 Court of Appeal (Church)

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s