A total sentence of 12 years’ imprisonment was appropriate in respect of 29 historical sex offences where an offender had carried out a sustained campaign of very serious abuse against his younger stepbrothers for about seven years, starting when the victims were only 9 years old, and involving a gross abuse of trust.
A bind-over, or the conduct leading to it, would not necessarily deprive a defendant of his entitlement to an unqualified good character direction. However, the defendant would not be entitled to have a bind-over simply ignored when the judge was considering whether to treat him as a person of good character.
There had been no misdirection and no unfairness to a defendant where a video recording of a victim’s achieving best evidence video had been played to the jury a second time at its request. The judge had summarised the defence case that the victim had changed her account, and had not been bound to remind the jury of the detailed way in which the case had been put.
Guilty verdicts on specimen counts of indecent assault were not inconsistent with not-guilty verdicts on specific counts of indecent assault; the jury had been entitled to accept the victim as a witness of truth as to the offender’s generalised conduct notwithstanding that she had had difficulty remembering the specifics of incidents.
A judge had been entitled to use the word “grooming” to describe an offender’s behaviour even though the prosecution had not done so and nor had it alleged the offence of grooming. The prosecution had presented the case on the basis of an escalation of abuse, both in terms of the level of sexual activity and the means used to secure compliance, and grooming entailed no more or less than that.