Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

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richardb
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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by richardb » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:00 pm

The judge made a bit of a mess of sentencing Burr.

She wanted to impose an extended sentence which required a custodial term of at least 4 year. First time round she got it wrong and only gave him 42 months, which meant she couldn't impose an extended sentence.

So Burr was brought back and given the right length of sentence, is 4 years imprisonment.

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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by J.R. » Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:12 pm

I believe the trial date for Karim is set for Tuesday 3rd. April.

Things may well change before then.
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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by Wuppertal » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:44 pm

Re. the perceived "light" sentences of Webb and Burr - it's rarely mentioned in the media (as doing so would make it less sensational), but the judge can only give the sentences that were available at the time of the offences, when they were more lenient. It does not necessarily mean that the judge felt the offences were not very serious. Had the crime been committed nowadays, the sentence would likely have been longer, as the laws and sentences have strengthened since the time of Webb's and Burr's offending. Judges' hands are tied on this. You can only be convicted and sentenced according to the laws in force at the time of the offence being committed. I'm sure some are aware of this, but others perhaps not; I feel it's important to qualify the sentences with this fact.

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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by richardb » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:38 am

You are half right.

The maximum sentence for the offence is the maximum in force at the time when the offence was committed. In the cases of Webb and Burr it will have been 10 years imprisonment for each offence.

Judges are required to have regard to any relevant sentencing guidelines. The guideline for sexual offences runs in total to 160+ pages. At the back of the document judges are given specific guidance for sentencing historic offences.

Two things are important. First a judge must sentence in accordance with the sentencing regime in force at the date of sentence (not the date of the offence). Secondly the judge has to follow any relevant sentencing guideline.

Thus the judge had 10 years imprisonment at her disposal for each and every offence. By the strategic use of consecutive sentences for offences, she should have sought to pass the same sentence as she would have done if the offences had been committed today.

The only time that an inadequate sentencing regime can be blamed is if an accused is sentence for a single offence which had a low maximum sentence at the time that the offences were committed.

The victims of Webb and Burr have been let down.

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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by J.R. » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:36 pm

... and although slightly off-topic, this subject is somewhat relevant.

https://www.rt.com/uk/415057-black-cab-rape-worboys/

Maybe a thread entitled 'British sentencing going soft' might be appropriate ??
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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by michael scuffil » Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:20 pm

British sentencing is the harshest in Europe, and the prison population is by far the highest, which also helps to explain the overcrowding in British prisons. I think in Germany where I live these two would not have been given a custodial sentence, or at least it would have been suspended. But almost certainly* it would have been too late to prosecute them anyway. The Germans regard the statute of limitations with the same degree of respect as the English give to trial by jury.
* or maybe not, because in the case of offences against minors, the countdown only starts when they reach the age of 18.
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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by Wuppertal » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:43 pm

michael scuffil wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:20 pm
British sentencing is the harshest in Europe, and the prison population is by far the highest, which also helps to explain the overcrowding in British prisons. I think in Germany where I live these two would not have been given a custodial sentence, or at least it would have been suspended. But almost certainly* it would have been too late to prosecute them anyway. The Germans regard the statute of limitations with the same degree of respect as the English give to trial by jury.
* or maybe not, because in the case of offences against minors, the countdown only starts when they reach the age of 18.
Absolutely. Also, the UK is one of only a handful of countries on the planet to have registration requirements for this kind of offence, and one of the few countries to have no statute of limitations for most offences. While I am in full agreement with any comment that the jail sentence itself is light and they were lucky, they will also both be heavily monitored upon release for the rest of their lives.

In 2015, an old primary school teacher of mine was convicted of (what look to be) similar offences that took place in the 70s and 80s. He got 21 years.

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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by LHA » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:38 pm

Some details of Burr's pre prison life here. Pub....Yacht Club....Senior citizens meals....church....Regatta Club.......

http://www.dartmouth-today.co.uk/articl ... hyear=2018

Less is known of Webb.

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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by richardb » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:03 am

One of the most disturbing things about Burr is that, at the age of 73, he satisfied the criteria for an extended sentence which means that he was assessed as posing a serious risk of significant harm - presumably to children.

One of the features of paedophiles is that they often do not slow down with age.

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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by sejintenej » Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:05 pm

LHA wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:38 pm
Some details of Burr's pre prison life here. Pub....Yacht Club....Senior citizens meals....church....Regatta Club.......

http://www.dartmouth-today.co.uk/articl ... hyear=2018

Less is known of Webb.
to quote:
He had a social life here and was well-known. From what I can gather from his friends, they are in total shock.”
Jason Byrne, of Kingswear Post Office, said: “He was a good customer and a very nice man. I’m surprised and shocked like everyone else

At CH in the 1950's any visitor had to have the written permission of the boy's parents (a very sensible precaution). Permission was given for a doctor of Medicine to take me out one Saturday. He was a pillar of society where he lived (and many were millionaires even in those days) yet he tried it on with me though he got nowhere. You cannot tell how a person will behave

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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by Chrissie Boy » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:49 pm

Call me ignorant, but this is what I don't get:

If someone is charged with an offence and then released on bail on the strict condition that they don't have any contact, direct or indirect, with present or former members of staff or pupils, how the hell are they supposed to enlist the help of any defence witnesses?

In the case of Webb and Burr, this wouldn't have been an issue, especially when they opted to plead guilty anyway: but as for certain other ex-staff against whom allegations have been made and whose eventual trials may turn out to consist of an expanded chewing-over of one person's word against another's, will it not be desperately unfair if the accusers are allowed to contact and secure the services of as many of their former schoolfellows as possible to help lend weight to the prosecution, whilst the accused isn't even allowed to contact so much as one former pupil who might, with just a few words, be able to destroy the case for the prosecution altogether?

The likelihood of suitable defence witnesses coming forward of their own volition seems pretty slim, especially when the names of the alleged victims haven't been made public and therefore no OBs who find mention of the forthcoming trials in the media can even guess who the alleged victims might have been. After all, I was a pupil at CH at the time that Burr and Webb were misbehaving and I don't even have the first clue as to who the victims responsible for bringing them to court might have been.

Or am I totally misunderstanding the concept of being barred from directly or indirectly contacting present and former staff and pupils? I'm assuming that for a lawyer to contact such a person on behalf of the accused would count as indirect contact by the accused.

Step forward richardb.

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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by richardb » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:45 pm

For good or bad complainants in sex cases have lifelong anonymity, regardless of whether there is a conviction.

Some complainants choose to waive their anonymity but otherwise it would need a court order to be able to identify them.

If there is a bail condition not to contact anyone ever connected with the school, contact by an accused's solicitor would be likely to be construed as indirect contact although no solicitor would make contact in those circumstances as it would jeopardise the client.

Bail conditions are supposed to be proportionate so a condition not to contact anyone ever connected to the school (however expressed) does seem rather disproportionate.

If there are potential witnesses one avenue would be to apply to vary bail to allow specific and identified individuals to be contacted. It is difficult to see how a general "trawl" could be done to find witnesses who may be able to help but whose existence and identity is not known to the accused.

I would have thought that the identities of potential witnesses in a sex case ought to be known to the accused so I can't see the disadvantage as bail can be varied to allow those named individuals to be contacted.

It is also not unknown for the police to contact potential witnesses and ask if they are willing to help the accused. Generally they aren't after the police have put the boot in.

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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by Chrissie Boy » Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:13 pm

Many thanks for the rapid response, Richard. Much appreciated.

I suppose what I was thinking was that there's a certain type of (generally young) person - male and female - who, having had a sexual encounter, enthusiastically relates all the details to his or her closest friends, partly for the sake of sharing and partly for the pleasure of showing off how grown up they are and watching their friends' jaws drop. If, decades later, the person who'd originally had the sexual experience decides that, far from its having been a complete blast and a (recurring) incident worthy of sharing with their friends gleefully, it was actually something which should by rights never have occurred at all because the adult they'd had their sexual experiences with should have known better, they might well decide to reclassify the whole thing in their own mind as sexual assault. But if one or more of their erstwhile circle of friends were prepared to stand up in court and say that actually it was totally unfair to rewrite history like that, because, at the time, their young friend was, to put it mildly, totally up for it and not only given to boasting of their experiences but also given to sounding off about how eagerly they anticipated their next encounter.... Well, it would surely throw a completely different light on the situation.

But how on earth could the person accused of having been the perpetrator of the alleged sexual assault(s) hope to know the identities of their alleged victim's former circle of friends, especially at this distance in time? Probably even at the time, the accused didn't know who their accuser's closest friends were, let alone now. And the circle of friends will have long since gone their separate ways. Somewhere out there, there might be an ex-friend who'd remember the whole story completely differently from the alleged victim - but if the accused isn't even allowed to put out feelers, and if the name of the complainant isn't made public (allowing a potential defence witness to see it in the media and come forward to tell their own version of the story), then the accused is left in as hopeless a position as someone facing witchcraft charges in the seventeenth century: if they can't actually prove their innocence, then they'll probably be seen as guilty purely by dint of having been accused and by dint of having crossed the teacher-pupil intimacy line.

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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by Mid A 15 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:09 pm

Chrissie Boy wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:13 pm
Many thanks for the rapid response, Richard. Much appreciated.

I suppose what I was thinking was that there's a certain type of (generally young) person - male and female - who, having had a sexual encounter, enthusiastically relates all the details to his or her closest friends, partly for the sake of sharing and partly for the pleasure of showing off how grown up they are and watching their friends' jaws drop. If, decades later, the person who'd originally had the sexual experience decides that, far from its having been a complete blast and a (recurring) incident worthy of sharing with their friends gleefully, it was actually something which should by rights never have occurred at all because the adult they'd had their sexual experiences with should have known better, they might well decide to reclassify the whole thing in their own mind as sexual assault. But if one or more of their erstwhile circle of friends were prepared to stand up in court and say that actually it was totally unfair to rewrite history like that, because, at the time, their young friend was, to put it mildly, totally up for it and not only given to boasting of their experiences but also given to sounding off about how eagerly they anticipated their next encounter.... Well, it would surely throw a completely different light on the situation.

But how on earth could the person accused of having been the perpetrator of the alleged sexual assault(s) hope to know the identities of their alleged victim's former circle of friends, especially at this distance in time? Probably even at the time, the accused didn't know who their accuser's closest friends were, let alone now. And the circle of friends will have long since gone their separate ways. Somewhere out there, there might be an ex-friend who'd remember the whole story completely differently from the alleged victim - but if the accused isn't even allowed to put out feelers, and if the name of the complainant isn't made public (allowing a potential defence witness to see it in the media and come forward to tell their own version of the story), then the accused is left in as hopeless a position as someone facing witchcraft charges in the seventeenth century: if they can't actually prove their innocence, then they'll probably be seen as guilty purely by dint of having been accused and by dint of having crossed the teacher-pupil intimacy line.
Whatever 'boasting' may or may not have happened there is the small matter of age of consent which, incidentally, is higher when the older party is in a position of trust.**

In the two cases which form the title of this thread both the perpetrators were housemasters in junior houses.

** The higher age of consent of 18 did not apply at the time some or all of the offences were committed but I reiterate 'junior houses' where all pupils are under 16 and that did apply.
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Re: Date of sentencing of Webb and Burr

Post by Chrissie Boy » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:52 am

My query is to do with a point of law, rather than to do with Messrs. Burr & Webb. But self-evidently my query relates to a type of offence somewhat different from theirs, which is why I've chosen my words so carefully.

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