Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Courts increase sentences for child sex offenders [October 2023]

The press release issued by the Attorney General’s Office on 17 October 2023.

Child sex offence cases saw the greatest number of prison sentence increases by the Court of Appeal last year the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) has announced.

Figures released as part the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme annual statistics for 2022 show there were 23 child sex offence sentence increases. This was followed by 10 sentences increased for rape offences and 7 for cases involving grievous bodily harm.

Under the ULS scheme, anybody can ask for a Crown Court sentence to be reviewed if they believe it is too low.

However, there is a strict criteria as only certain offences are considered and referrals to AGO must be made within 28 days of the sentence.

In 2022, the Law Officers received 1,179 cases to review and referred 139 cases to the Court of Appeal. In total, 95 cases (68 per cent) saw the sentence increased.

The Solicitor General Michael Tomlinson KC MP said:

Being a victim of crime can leave life-long emotional scars and some of society’s most dangerous offenders – including child sexual predators and violent criminals – saw their sentences increased in 2022.

As the statistics show, the vast majority of offenders are sentenced appropriately. However, the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme provides a vital safeguard to ensure that there is confidence in our sentence regime.

The scheme is a vital pillar of criminal justice and shows there is a robust system to make sure criminals are suitably punished for their actions.”

Other offences which saw sentence increases in 2022 included, kidnapping, robbery, child cruelty and murder.

Semi Lave’s 15-year sentence saw the biggest increase in 2022 when his jail term was extended by nine years, totalling 24 years with a licence extension of six years.

Lave was found to have raped and sexually abused two children between 2015 and 2020. Both children were threatened with violence and were physically abused.

Other cases in 2022 that saw sentence increases after the Law Officers intervened included:

  • Convicted child sex offender Lee Gibson saw his prison sentence increased from 16-and-a-half years to 23 years in January 2022. Derby’s Gibson subjected his young victim to a campaign of sexual abuse which began when she was under 13 years of age.
  • Former radio DJ, Mark Page, was convicted of trying to arrange sexual encounters with children in the Philippines and had his sentence extended from 12 years to 18 in June 2022.
  • Zachary Jagger saw his prison term increase from six years to 13 years, with a licence extension of three years, after he deliberately drove his car into a group of people he had been fighting with after he was refused entry into a party. He left one victim with a double leg fracture.
  • Lorna and Chris Dennington were sentenced in 2022 for child cruelty offences. Their campaign of cruelty was conducted over 11 years where victims were physically and emotionally abused. Lorna’s sentence was increased to four years and 10 months’, while Chris was ordered to serve a new sentence of six years.