Sex offender too dangerous to free


Published: Monday 16th February 2015 by The News Editor

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An internet groomer who believes “men have a right to sex” remains too dangerous to be let out of prison even though he has now been in custody for nine years, the High Court has decided.

A judge upheld a Parole Board ruling that Clive Hall, 44, from Roydon, Essex, remains a particularly high risk to under-age girls.

Hall was given an indeterminate sentence for public protection (IPP) at Chelmsford Crown Court in June 2006 for three offences of unlawful consensual sexual activity with two girls.

Mrs Justice Simler, sitting in London, said Hall had been involved in grooming 14 and 15-year-olds while receiving treatment for his “obsession with sex”.

He had met the girls through the internet even though he was under an extended supervision order after serving a three-month sentence for possessing child pornography images.

The judge said: “He conducted himself in a deceptive and manipulative manner whilst participating in a sex offender treatment programme – giving the impression that he understood the seriousness of his earlier sexual offences and was developing victim empathy, whereas he was committing (further) offences and the risk he posed to young girls was escalating.”

Hall’s case came back before the High Court in a challenge to the legality of his ongoing detention under his IPP.

At his trial he was ordered to remain in jail for at least three and a half years, subsequently reduced on appeal to two and a half, before he could be considered for parole.

The minimum term expired in December 2008, but Hall remains detained.

Philip Rule, who appeared for Hall, argued that his sentence had become “arbitrary, and grossly disproportionate” and was a breach of his human rights because of its impact on his private and family life.

Mr Rule said no consideration had been given to the fact that IPP sentences were abolished in December 3 2012 under the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (Laspo).

Mr Rule argued that it was “grossly unfair” that prisoners like Hall serving indefinite sentences might be detained alongside inmates convicted of precisely the same offences after IPPs were abolished, and then have “to endure their automatic release” at the end of a fixed term.

Adding on the time Hall spent on remand, he had so far served nine years in jail – the equivalent of 18 years if he had been given a determinate sentence, said Mr Rule.

But the judge ruled that IPP sentences remained lawful and the Parole Board’s focus was rightly on the risk posed by Hall’s release.

She declared: “The Parole Board is not required to balance the public protection needed against other interests, including the interests of the prisoner and his family in his release in order to enjoy family and private life rights.”

The judge said a “considerable number of risk factors” had been identified, including Hall’s “obsession with sex, feeling inadequate, lack of intimate relationships, believing men have a right to sex, and sexual interest in teenage girls”.

The judge added: “He demonstrated on several occasions in open conditions that his capacity for deceptive, manipulative and untrustworthy behaviour and his feelings of entitlement, which were factors in his grooming of sexual victims, had not reduced.”

Published: Monday 16th February 2015 by The News Editor

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