[#ScoutsAbuse 4] John Oliver Bentley Court of Appeal 29 Jul 1999

The appeal against sentencing was made by John Oliver Bentley, who was a founder of British Men and Boys Love Association.  Although he was a member of BMBLA, this was an “isolated conviction” for indecent assault, although he had many indecent photographs.  The abuse was in the early 1990s and at his home Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. The appeal was dismissed.

Of interest is that the victim was taken to Bentley’s house by Douglas Braithwaite who ran a Scout group in NE London in the 1990’s, and was connected to a paedophile ring [who?], who had previously abused the same victim.

Braithwaite was connected to Brian Turner, 60, a convicted paedophile who was a member of child killer Sidney Cooke’s “dirty dozen” gang,  Dennis Ward, 66, Keith Spratt, 50, Robert Kearns, 50 and The Baden Powell Scouting Association, founded in 1978, which has about 2,000 members and 100 lodges nationwide. 1998 Sept 16 BBC “Huge” child abuse network uncovered [3]

Wikipedia Baden Powell Scouts Association  [4]

I have not researched further.


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]

[1999] EWCA Crim J0729-5

No: 99/2499/X5


Thursday 29th July 1999

Lord Justice Clarke and

Regina v. John Oliver Bentley

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

MR SIMON WARD appeared on behalf of the APPELLANT


(As approved by the Court)

Thursday 29th July 1999

LORD JUSTICE CLARKE: The appellant is John Bentley, who is now 54 years of age. On 17th February 1999 at the Knightsbridge Crown Court he pleaded guilty on re-arraignment to indecent assault on a male. He was sentenced on 26th March 1999 by His Honour Judge Pontius to four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment. An order was made for extended supervision under section 44 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 and the Sex Offenders Act 1997 applies indefinitely. A count of conspiracy to commit indecent assault on a male was ordered to remain on the file. He appeals to this Court against his sentence by leave of the single judge.

The facts were, briefly, as follows. A man called Braithwaite, who is now deceased, ran a scout group in north east London. The victim, who was born on 17th November 1980, joined that group in the early 1990’s, when he was nearly 11 years old. Over the next six years Braithwaite sexually abused the boy on a regular basis. This began with mutual masturbation and oral sex, and culminated in anal intercourse. By the time the boy was 12 he had been thoroughly corrupted.

Braithwaite also introduced the boy to members of a paedophile ring, who would also sexually abuse the boy. Although the appellant knew Braithwaite, it is not suggested that he was part of that paedophile ring.

When the boy was aged 12, as the judge found at a Newton hearing to which we shall return in a moment, Braithwaite took the boy to the appellant’s home in Cheshunt. While the appellant made tea in the kitchen, Braithwaite took out the boy’s penis and began to touch it. When the appellant returned he (the appellant) performed oral sex on the boy and then masturbated the boy. When the appellant stopped, they had some tea and the appellant then asked the boy to remove his clothing.

When the boy was naked, the appellant again performed oral sex on him and Braithwaite played with the boy’s testicles. The appellant produced a sexually explicit book which he had made, which depicted two young boys in the changing room of a swimming pool. Braithwaite masturbated the boy as the boy read the book and the boy wrote his name at the end of the book. They watched a video of boys and girls having sex, and then the boy was told to dress. Braithwaite took the boy home.

On 20th April 1995 police officers searched the appellant’s home and found indecent photographs of the victim. Braithwaite and another man had taken the pictures. On 9th February 1996 at the Cheshunt Magistrates’ Court he was convicted of an offence of indecent assault on a child and was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment. Those photographs were photographs of the victim.

On 9th March 1998 the appellant was arrested for the current offence. His home was searched, and a number of explicit photographs and pictures were seized together with a book which was similar to the book that the victim had read and noted with his name.

On 4th August 1998 the appellant pleaded guilty to possession of indecent photographs of a child, those being the photographs which had been seized on 9th March 1998 and was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment.

That sentence was varied on appeal to five months’ imprisonment on 21st August 1998 and he was released on that date, presumably on the basis that he had been on remand for some period. When interviewed about these offences, the appellant made no comment.

The appellant pleaded guilty, but there was an issue as to how old the victim was at the time of the offence. The Crown’s case was that he was 12, whereas the appellant said that he was 15. That issue had to be resolved at a Newton hearing, at which the victim gave evidence, although it is fair to say that cross-examination was confined to his age, so as to avoid causing him unnecessary distress. The judge held that the victim was 12 and that the offence occurred on 1st October 1993. The judge gave full reasons for his decision to impose a sentence of four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment as a longer than normal sentence under section 2(2)(b) of the Criminal Justice Act 1991.

He said this: “John Oliver Bentley, I give you full measure of credit for having pleaded guilty to this offence. I recognise that it must have taken a degree of courage to admit your responsibility, knowing with your record what the inevitable consequence would be. I sentence you for that offence alone.

I accept that this was one isolated offence, which would seem to put you at first sight in a different category from some of those men who have already been sentenced for systematic and repeated sexual abuse of [the victim] over a period of time. I saw that young man, as he now is, give evidence at some length, and it seems that he has grown up into a thoroughly decent, honest and level-headed young man, mercifully with no apparent adverse consequences to him of the way in which he was subjected to sexual abuse. I found him to be truthful, impressive and reliable in his evidence, evidence which showed that your indecent assault upon him took place when he was 12 years old and little more than a child.

When Douglas Braithwaite brought the boy to you in Cheshunt there is no doubt that he had already, over the preceding two years at least, been thoroughly corrupted sexually by constant and frequent abuse since the age of 10. By that time, therefore, he was, in effect, being passed round by Douglas Braithwaite amongst his friends, of which you were one, as nothing more than a sex toy, for the sole purpose of sexual gratification, with plainly never a thought being given by any of you to his welfare.

Your previous record shows that you have been sentenced in the past —both before and, importantly, after, this offence – for having indecent photographs and pictures of boys in your possession, as well as for gross indecency with a young boy some years ago.

Further, I have seen a lurid home-made pornographic illustrated novelette found in your possession containing not only graphic written descriptions but also drawings of sexual activity between underage boys compiled for the obvious purpose of sexual gratification.

It is a matter for considerable concern that as the contents of the final page make clear, that book, which significantly bears the words “For boys under 14” on the cover, was shown to a number of boys, who were then asked to record their comments, and did so, in answer to direct questions of a blatantly sexual nature.

In addition, I have today also seen the similar material, including photographs, which led to your earlier convictions.

In those circumstances, although this is your first conviction for an offence of indecent assault, nevertheless, I am in no doubt that immature boys are in clear and continuing danger of sexual assault at your hands. I am fortified in that view by the contents of a full and helpful pre-sentence report, hence although I cannot, any more than previous courts, deter you from further offending, I must pass a sentence which will not only serve adequately to punish you for this serious indecent assault on a 12-year-old boy but which will also offer a measure of protection to other children who are, like [the victim] at the time of this offence, extremely vulnerable to predatory men.

In short, I have a very clear duty to protect the public in general and prepubescent boys in particular from serious harm at your hands.

In the absence of other relevant convictions a commensurate sentence for this offence would, in my judgment, in all the circumstances, have been in the region of two to two-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.

Given your history, however, I am confident that my public duty requires me to exercise my powers under section 2(2)(b) of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 and to pass a longer than commensurate sentence if that public duty is properly to be fulfilled.” The judge expressly said that, in the event of an appeal, he would wish this Court to see the material which was before him, particularly the book and the bundle of material to which he referred. We have now seen that material. The origin of the material is threefold. There are some photographs of the victim which were in the appellant’s possession, although it is not suggested that he himself took the photographs.

We have seen some photographs taken by the police in the mid-1990s and we have seen the other material to which the judge referred, which was found at the appellant’s address in March 1998.

The judge referred to the appellant’s previous convictions. He also placed some reliance upon the pre-sentence report. There was before the judge a detailed pre-sentence report, which, like the judge, we have considered in detail. It is important to note, Page 7 as Mr Ward has pointed out in his written submissions, that there may be some doubt as to the reliability of all the information given to the writer of the report.

We accept that that is so, although it is right to say that all pre-sentence reports depend upon information given to their writer. It is not necessary for us to set out the whole of that report here. In our judgment, however, it affords significant support for the judge’s conclusion that this is a case in which it is necessary to protect the public from serious harm from the offender, within the meaning of section 2(2)(b) of the Criminal Justice Act 1991. We refer to just two paragraphs.

“15. I am advised by both Detective Murray and colleagues at Marylebone Magistrates Court that Mr Bentley is a founder member of the British Men and Boys Love Association which advocates sex between men and prepubescent children. Further that there remains serious on-going concerns regarding his behaviour and current contact with like-minded individuals.” Then there is a reference to a particular letter.

Under the “Risk to the Public of Re-offending” the writer says this: “The court will clearly have concerns at the nature and frequency of Mr Bentley’s offending in spite of the number of deterrent and therapeutic disposals in the past.

These undoubtedly will be exacerbated by the fact that this offence was committed whilst subject to probation supervision and the fact his behaviour is continuing whilst remanded in custody.” The writer then expresses doubt about the appellant’s motivation. The writer finally concludes that the appellant poses a high risk of offending and a high risk of harm to the public.

We have also seen a psychiatric report, which concludes as follows: “With regard to potential for future risk, the court should bear in mind the range of different activities in which Mr Bentley has indulged and the length of time during which he has had his interest. Mr Bentley has four previous convictions for sexual offences, over a period of years. In view of the longevity of the history and the range of his interests, it is my opinion that he must present a future risk to young boys.” The sole ground of appeal is that the judge was not justified in passing a longer than normal or commensurate sentence under section 2(2)(b) of the Criminal Justice Act 1991. It is submitted that he did not have before him sufficient material to enable him to conclude that it was necessary to pass such a sentence to protect the public from serious harm from him.

In this connection, Mr Ward’s submissions may be summarised as follows.

1. The offence itself cannot provide justification for imposing such a sentence since it was an isolated incident some five-and-a-half years old. Indeed, it is the appellant’s only conviction for any kind of assault.

Moreover, it had been committed at the behest of another man, who is now deceased.

2. The judge relied on the appellant’s criminal record, the pre-sentence report and the psychiatric report and a home-made book found at Mr Bentley’s address. As to his record predating the offence, it was one of threatening words or behaviour, two gross indecencies with a child and two indecent exposures, the last of which was in 1992. Since the offence, there was a conviction in February 1996 for possessing the indecent photographs to which we referred, and a further offence to which he pleaded guilty on 4th August 1998, to which we have also referred. It is submitted that the pre-sentence report and psychiatric reports were not really based upon conclusions other than the appellant’s record. It is not suggested, for example, that he suffered from a mental illness.

As to the material found at the appellant’s address, Mr Ward submits that it does no more than show a predilection for obscene material, which could not on its own justify the conclusion to which the judge reached.

Overall, it is submitted that the material was capable of establishing nothing more than that the appellant had a sexual interest in boys.

Page 10 We accept that the mere possession of indecent material would not be enough to justify the conclusion reached by the judge. But in this case the judge relied not just on that material; he relied upon a number of factors. He relied upon the appellant’s convictions in the past and the convictions since the date of this offence. Moreover, he relied, as he could properly rely, upon the offence itself, which was a serious indecent assault.

In our judgment, the submissions which Mr Ward has made —and he has said everything which could possibly be said on behalf of the appellant —inappropriately minimise the risk. In our judgment, making all proper allowance for the information upon which the reports were based, those statements of opinion, together with the facts of this offence, his convictions since the offence and the material found at his home fully justify the conclusion reached by the judge that a longer than normal sentence was required in order to protect the public or a particular part of the public, namely young boys, from serious harm. In our judgment the judge was right to apply section 2(2)(b) of the 1991 Act. The sentence was not manifestly excessive. The appeal must be dismissed.

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

Index of Court Appeals on this blog [2]

1978 Jan 20 [#ScoutsAbuse 6] Ernest Fred Jay Court of Appeal [257]

1984 May 10 [#ScoutsAbuse 7] John Queen  Court of Appeal [258]

1987 Oct 22 [#ScoutsAbuse 5] Derek Lewis Foster  Court of Appeal [256]

1988 Jun 7 [#ScoutsAbuse 8] William Henry Twigg  Court of Appeal [259]

1999 Jul 29 [#ScoutsAbuse 4] John Oliver Bentley Court of Appeal  [255]

2000 Jun 13 [#ScoutsAbuse 3] Andrew Lee Clark 2000 Jun 13 Court of Appeal [254]

2006 Jun 19 [#ScoutsAbuse 2] John Anthony Coghlan 2006 Jun 19 Court of Appeal [253]

2016 Mar 18 [#ScoutsAbuse 1] KCR v Scout Association High Court [252] 

  • 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]
  • Fresh Start Foundation Scottish not for profit group, helping child sexual abuse victims & survivors  [N]



[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/

[3] 1998 Sept 16 BBC “Huge” child abuse network uncovered http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/173024.stm

[4] Wikipedia Baden Powell Scouts Association https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baden-Powell_Scouts%27_Association

[252] 2018 Feb 6 cathy fox blog [Scouts 1] KCR v Scout Association High Court 18th March 2016 https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2018/02/06/scouts-1-kcr-v-scout-association-high-court-18th-march-2016/

[253] 2018 Feb 6 cathy fox blog [#ScoutsAbuse 2] John Anthony Coghlan 2006 Jun 19 Court of Appeal https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/scoutsabuse-2-john-anthony-coghlan-2006-jun-19-court-of-appeal/

[254] 2018 Feb 6 cathy fox blog [#ScoutsAbuse 3] Andrew Lee Clark 2000 Jun 13 Court of Appeal https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/scoutsabuse-3-andrew-lee-clark-2000-jun-13-court-of-appeal/

[255] 2018 Feb 6 cathy fox blog [#ScoutsAbuse 4] John Oliver Bentley Court of Appeal 29 Jul 1999 https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/scoutsabuse-4-john-oliver-bentley-court-of-appeal-29-jul-1999/

[256] 2018 Feb  cathy fox blog [#ScoutsAbuse 5] Derek Lewis Foster 22nd October 1987 Court of Appeal https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2018/02/08/scoutsabuse-5-derek-lewis-foster-22nd-october-1987-court-of-appeal/

[257] 2018 Feb 9 cathy fox blog  [#ScoutsAbuse 6] Ernest Fred Jay 1978 Jan 20 Court of Appeal https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/scoutsabuse6-ernest-fred-jay-1978-jan-20-court-of-appeal/

[258] 2018 feb 10 cathy fox blog  [#ScoutsAbuse 7] John ueen 1984 May 10 Court of Appeal https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2018/02/10/scoutsabuse7-john-queen-1984-may-10-court-of-appeal/

[259] 2018 feb 10 cathy fox blog [#ScoutsAbuse 8] William Henry Twigg 1988 Jun 7 Court of Appeal https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2018/02/10/tt-tag-check-scoutsabuse-8-william-henry-twigg-1988-jun-7-court-of-appeal/


[A] Sanctuary for the Abused http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.co.uk/2006/07/for-survivors-coping-with-triggers-if.html

Let justice be done though the heavens fall – Fiat justitia ruat cælum

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 cathyfoxblog, Child Abuse, Child sexual abuse, Hertfordshire, Scouts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to [#ScoutsAbuse 4] John Oliver Bentley Court of Appeal 29 Jul 1999

  1. FreshStartFoundation says:

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    Telephone Helpline Attached S.C.A.R. Rally & Meeting like minded groups.

    In 2013 a group was set up to give support to victims of child abuse and that group go by the name of Justice For Children UK.

    There is four founders of the group Andy Jayne & Sandy and each one of us know the affects of child abuse as we have all experienced this ourself.

    The main aims of Justice For Children UK is to give support to all victims of child abuse and to prove we will never let them down and to work with many support groups that like us can link together and make changes so that all victims can get the right support they need and when they need it.

    We at Justice For Children UK are now trying to get care homes to meet with us where children were abused so that we can work together in an amicable way to make wrongs right and we are now working with Quarrier s Orphan Homes and so far we have managed to get Quarriers as they are now known to admit they knew children were getting abused while the children were under there care and also to give an apology.

    By working in a amicable way we have achieved many things with Quarriers and we have also managed to get Quarriers to replace all the 335 little children’s headstones that for some reason were removed from the children’s resting place.

    Today we are asking you to join with us in proving we are here for all victims of abuse and the two main ways we aim to do this is by first holding a rally in Edinburgh where victims can come and meet with us.

    Our Aim is to set up a 24 hours a day 365 days of the year helpline where victims can speak with a professional when they are in need.

    We have spoken with many victims and many survivors to thrivers and one of the main issues we discovered was there was a lack of no one to turn to for help after office hours please support us with suggesting a number of volunteers that could be possible happy to do a shift on the helpline we also need out of hours managers on call and then a survivour could initially answer the calls your suggestions please.

    So please come and meet us send 2 dates that you can spare time to speak with our Sandy & Jayne to discuss working together.

    We Invite You also and your survivors and or service users to join with us as at our first event the Scottish Child Abuse Rally (S.C.A.R) which will take place at the grass area at Horse Wynd just across from the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh on Thursday the 6th September 2018 from 12:00pm to 5:30pm as this is your chance to come along and let yourself be known which we hope you can as it is only by linking together and working together can all victims of abuse get the reassurance we are here for you and we are here for them.

    Futher to the awareness rally we want to meet you if we cant meet you before we have booked a room in edinburgh for friday 7th of september 2018 9am to 12 noon we would love to meet you and share your thoughts and ideas. If your interested in this do email us.

    Free Tickets For All Survivors


    Yours truly,


    Andy Peacher, For and behalf of Justice For Children UK. Supporting Survivors EverYday.


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