Christina Sethi sentence increased by the Court of Appeal

Christina Sethi sentence increased by the Court of Appeal

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Photo from the Mirror

Introduction

Back in August 2015 we covered the case of Christina Sethi, an Exeter caseworker who was sent to prison for 10 years for three Counts of Sexual Assault and two of Assault by Penetration.

The offending was horrible – we know that one of the assault by penetration was using a vibrator on one elderly lady (penetrating her anus), and “fondling the genitalia and breast of another“. The victim in that case was 101.

Ms Sethi stroked the penis of a third man as she washed him. All three victims tried to complain about the treatment and, “Despite their vulnerabilities, all three were aware something untoward was happening to them.

 

Sentence

The case was governed by the Sentencing Guidelines.

We said that “looking at the tables on pages 14-15, it is clearly a Culpability A offence (significant degree of planning, abuse of trust and recording).

What about the Harm? This is harder to work out, without having fuller details of the offending. It’s almost certainly a Category 2 due to the breach of trust and the filming (although you have to be careful not to ‘double count’ the vulnerability of the victims).

On what is reported in the news, there would not appear (just) to be sufficient to say that this is a Category 1 offences, so we would suggest that it is a 2A offence, with a starting point of 8 years and a range of 5 to 13 years.”

We did point out that it was at the top, if not above, that range, so the sentence of 10 years, after allowing for credit for the plea of guilty, was fair enough.

 

Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal didn’t agree though. The Prosecution appealed the sentence and, on 27th October 2010, the sentence was increased to 15 years.

We don’t have the judgment, but the Court said “15 years was the absolute minimum Sethi should have been given for such serious offences.“.

In light of that, this would seem to indicate a starting point of over 20 years. This is above the top value given for a Category 1A offence.

They are obviously in possession of all the facts, so we will wait for the Court of Appeal judgment before having a look at it further.

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Dan is a barrister at 2 Dr. Johnson’s Buildings practising in crime.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hello Dan,
    I’ve thought about this today, and on returning here, I notice that no one has much to say on this sentence. Perhaps they are waiting for the Court of Appeal judgement.
    As you may have guessed I’m not in anyway educated in law, I’m just one of those ‘twelve good men and true’. I look at things from the position of a member of the ‘public’.
    “….a starting point of over 20 years.”
    As disgusting as her actions were, does anyone seriously think that Christina Sethi will emerge from this prolonged spell of incarceration, a reformed woman?
    The view this evening, from us ‘men in the pub’ is that she must be mentally ill and should be treated as so.

    • Thanks for your comment. I think the question of whether or not she will emerge from her sentence a reformed woman (almost undoubtedly, she will not) is a different question to whether, in law, the sentence is the “right” sentence.

      In questioning her mental health you are looking at the justification for sentencing – the law provides that there are multiple aims, including rehabilitation, but overwhelmingly, as a society, we are focussed upon punishment and retribution. Hence the large prison population of men and women many of whom will re-enter society no better (and probably worse off) than when they entered.

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