13 men who ran "sex ring" guilty of serious sexual offences against...

13 men who ran "sex ring" guilty of serious sexual offences against vulnerable girls

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On 27 November 2014, 13 men were convicted of a series of serious sexual offences committed against vulnerable schoolgirls. The Guardian reported that details of the case could only today be revealed as this was the second trial arising out of operation Brooke and reporting restrictions had been put in place to avoid any risk of details emerging which could call into question the fairness of the second trial. Those restrictions were lifted today.

What happened?

Well presently, details are a little scant, however it seems that 13 men – some of whom were members of a drug gang – have been convicted of serious sexual offences against children:

The 13 men all of Somali origin, most of whom are in their early 20s, were divided into two trials, and were convicted as follows:

The first trial (six defendants):

  • rape (SOA 2003 s.1)
  • paying a child for sex (SOA 2003 s.47), and
  • arranging or facilitating payments for the sexual offences of a child (this appears to be an offence of “arranging or facilitating child prostitution or pornography”, SOA 2003 s.50).

The second trial (seven defendants):

  • rape (SOA 2003 s.1),
  • causing or inciting child prostitution (SOA 2003 s.48),
  • sexual acts with children (this appears to be an offence of “sexual activity with a child”, SOA 2003 s.9), and
  • trafficking (SOA 2003 s.59A).

The facts are scant but The Guardian’s report states:

  • The victims, some of whom were in local authority care, were groomed and passed around by their abusers – often for money.
  • One of the girls was raped at the age of 13 on the same night by three different men.
  • Another girl was sexually exploited after a local authority outside Bristol set her up alone in a flat at the age of 16 in a deprived inner-city neighbourhood although she had been described as having the emotional development of a three-year-old. Within hours of arriving, she was spotted by drug dealers who set up a base in her new home and forced her to work as a prostitute. The abuse continued for months even after she told care workers about what was happening; the girl’s 14-year-old sister was subsequently raped during a visit.

Regrettably, we do not know any more details, for example, the nature of trafficking (in the UK or to the UK), the size of the “sex ring”, the period over which the offences were committed, the number of complainants in the case, the amount of profit made by the men from the offences, and whether or not the police are looking for other men who they believe to be involved.

Sentence

We presume that sentencing has been adjourned for the seven who were convicted today. The six men from the first trial have already been sentenced although details – again – are a bit sketchy. We know that the sum total of the sentences imposed for the six men from the first trial comes to “more than 75 years”. It is not known whether any of those sentences were life sentence or extended sentences however, presuming that they were not, the average for each defendant would be well above 10 years.

We’ll keep an eye out for when the defendants from the second trial are sentenced, however it is safe to say that the sentences will be long and that the judge will be considering the dangerousness provisions to determine whether or not a life sentence or extended sentence is appropriate.

What next?

It is reported that a serious case review  will be conducted and that the operation will continue. So far 10 girls have come forward however it not known how many of those were complainants in the two trials. It seems likely the local authority will come in for some hefty criticism if the media reports are anything to go by.

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Lyndon is the General Editor of Current Sentencing Practice and the Criminal Appeal Reports (Sentencing)

1 COMMENT

  1. I am pleased these horrendous sex rings are being brought to trial but the fact that vulnerable girls ( sometimes boys) are left alone & easily exploited is concerning & alarming. The LA should come under scrutiny. I think it is appalling as all these cases show, Rotherham etc how poorly managed by statutory services are & the views towards vulnerable girls. More needs to be done to prevent this type of sexual violence. However, I know how information about offences & rights has not been made accessible so want to change that through campaigning.

    It is common for drug users to befriend vulnerable tenants & move in. I used to manage housing so have experienced this.

    I hope they get more than 10 years as a risk to public and as an example.

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