Convicted Paedophile Stuart Hall sentence doubled from 15 months to 30 months.
Court of appeal rules former BBC broadcaster's original 15-month jail term was inadequate
Stuart Hall's jail sentence for a string of sexual offences, including an attack on a nine-year-old girl, has been doubled to 30 months. The lord chief justice, Lord Judge, criticised the former broadcaster for using the media in an attempt to influence jurors before the original trial.
The court of appeal extended Hall's 15-month jail term after ruling that his original sentence was inadequate and did not match his crimes.
Judge said Hall had aggravated his prolonged pattern of serious sexual assaults by initially protesting his innocence and criticising his victims.
In May Hall admitted 14 counts of indecent assault against girls as young as nine between 1967 and 1987.
Hall, 83, kept his head bowed as he listened to proceedings via video link from HMP Preston on Friday morning, and showed no reaction as the decision was announced.
The case was referred to the court by the attorney general, Dominic Grieve, who argued that Hall's sentence was unduly lenient as it failed to reflect adequately the gravity of his offending and the public concern about such crimes.
Judge, sitting with appeal court judges Lady Justice Macur and Lady Justice Rafferty, spent more than an hour detailing Hall's attacks on 13 victims before reaching his verdict that the 15-month sentence was too lenient.
He told a packed courtroom that Hall had "got away with it" for decades and had "lived a lie for more than half of his life".
His public protestations of innocence had a particularly damaging effect on his victims, Judge said, including one woman who considered withdrawing her complaint to police over fears she would not be believed.
"Whatever legal advice the offender has been given, he knew the truth," said the judge. "He knew he was guilty of molesting these girls. He is an expert of media manipulating and used the media for the purpose of attempting to influence jurors and attacking the 13 women."
Speaking outside court, Grieve said he was pleased with the outcome. "This was an abuse of power and he did it over a very long period of time. When he was confronted with this his reaction was a to denounce people and say they were all liars," he said.
"In the context of the sentencing framework that existed at the time, 30 months is a satisfactory sentence that clearly reflects the criminality of what happened."
Grieve added: "If someone is accused of a serious offence, it is in their interest to admit it. Individuals who don't admit it and who attack their accusers, who are later found to be guilty, will not get very much sympathy from the court."
Hall, 83, received a 15-month jail sentence in June after admitting 14 offences against girls aged nine to 17 between 1967 and 1985.
The attorney general, Dominic Grieve had told the judges the individual sentences for each count should have been made to run consecutively, "so that the total sentence passed reflected the culpability of the offender, the harm caused and the culpability of others".
"It appears to me the sentence was unduly lenient and the overall criminality was not reflected," he told the court.
Grieve argued that Hall's "prolonged and repeated" offending, the number of victims and his gross breach of trust were serious aggravating factors that should be considered when deciding whether his sentence was unduly lenient.
Alan Collins, a solicitor for a number of Hall's victims, described the verdict as a "re-vindication" for those who complained to police – but questioned whether 30 months imprisonment was sufficient punishment for his crimes.
"Obviously he deserves more but the court of appeal is constrained by the sentencing guidelines from the time. There is an argument that perhaps they shouldn't be so constrained," he said. "Hall has escaped justice for his crimes for so long. Why should he have the double benefit of being sentenced under old law?
"The victims have suffered since the incidents and are suffering today. Whereas Hall hasn't had to suffer any of that. It's only now he's paying the price and it's a deflated price."
Victim charities had argued that Hall got off lightly and 165 people complained to the attorney general's office that the original sentence was too lenient.
Hall sat with his shoulders hunched and head bowed for much of the two-and-a-half hour court hearing. He was described in a prison report, read to the court, as feeling "chastened" by prison life but no longer suicidal. The former TV and radio presenter, who suffers from an irregular heartbeat, sleeps on the bottom bunk of the bed he shares with his cellmate because he is unable to tackle the ladders, the court heard.
Lord Judge criticised his "steady, repeated theme" of attacking his victims as liars in early police interviews. Asked in one interview whether he believed the complainants were making up the allegations, he told police: "Well, yes. Yes. Dreams and the light imaginings of men."
Hall was described by the Crown Prosecution Service as an "opportunistic predator" after he eventually admitted a string of sex attacks.
Judge Anthony Russell QC, at Preston crown court, said he had sentenced Hall based on the maximum sentence available at the time the crimes were committed, which was two to five years. The maximum sentence has since been increased to 10 years.
The court heard that Hall confronted one girl in the staff quarters of a hotel within minutes of her being chosen to appear as a cheerleader on his BBC show It's a Knockout.
In the 1980s Hall molested a nine-year-old girl by putting his hand up her clothing, the court was told.