Introduction and Facts
It takes all sorts to make a world. On 6th August 2015 an injured horse was found in his stables in Norfolk. The injuries aren’t specified, but there were sufficient for the police to circulate an image of a suspect wanted for alleging trying to have intercourse with him.
Alan Blackman took to the internet to protest that, whilst the CCTV images may look like him, it was a case of mistaken identity.
It turned out that Mr Blackman may have been a bit misleading – on 7th September 2015 he pleaded guilty to one offence of ‘attempted intercourse with a horse‘ and one of trespassing with intent to commit a sexual offence.
Sentencing was adjourned until next month for the preparation (perhaps unsurprisingly) of psychiatric reports.
We don’t know what the charge was, but assume it was ‘attempted intercourse with an animal’, contrary to s69 Sexual Offences Act 2003.
The maximum sentence for this is 2 years imprisonment.
The other offence of trespass with intent is contrary to s63 Sexual Offences Act 2003. It’s a slightly odd offence, in that it is committed whenever someone is knowingly (or recklessly) trespassing with an intent to commit a sexual offence.
This can be any sexual offence. In this case, presumably, it was the s69 one. The twist is that the maximum sentence is 10 years.
So, can Mr Blackman get a higher sentence for this than 2 years? In theory, yes. Although on the usual principles we would expect a Judge to say that the sentence for the ‘trespass with intent’ offence is no higher than he would have got for actually committing the offence.
In any event, although there are no guidelines for the intercourse with an animal offence, there are for the s63 one (see page 147). The offence is lower harm and lower culpability, giving a starting point of 2 years (before a guilty plea).
It may well be academic as it is the sort of case where we it would not be a surprise if there was a psychiatric disposal (or a community sentence of one sort or another, but with a psychiatric element). If not, we would not expect a prison sentence of more than 15 months or so.
Watch this space …