Father Christmas jailed for child sex offences

Father Christmas jailed for child sex offences

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Photo from the BBC

Introduction

Not that Father Christmas, the man himself, of course. He’s up in the North pole making toys – you’ve got to start early on these things. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-36158903

But on 28th April 2016 one of his lookalikes, Lawrence Lewis, a 57 year old “described as having a bushy beard, white curly hair and being well-built” was jailed for 22 months.

 

Facts

As always, it’s a big vague. We are told that Mr Lewis was a regular at the Wellington Pub, Waterlooville where other drinkers had remarked on his similarity to Santa Clause.

His crimes related to two different girls, one aged 11 and one 8. It seems that Mr Lewis had approached them on several occasions offering them money to expose themselves to him (on one occasion the sum of £3 was mentioned).

He pleaded guilty to three counts of inciting a girl under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity, contrary to s8 Sexual Offences Act 2003.

 

Sentence

Mr Lewis was sentenced to 22 months imprisonment. There was also what we presume was a Sexual Harm Prevention Order with a slightly unusual condition banning him from playing Father Christmas (it’s not clear in what context).

The offence is covered by the Sentencing Guidelines (page 41). It looks like it’s a 3B offence. This gives a starting point of 2 years, with a range of 1-4 years.

There was a plea, we are not clear when, but it looks like this was fairly early, which gives a starting point of about 2½ years.

Although the offending is pretty low level in the scheme of things, you have to look at the age of the girls, as well as the repetition of the offence. What isn’t clear is how much of a real attempt this was by Mr Lewis. Given the sentence, it may well be that it was a pretty serious one.

There may be an appeal, and without a bit more detail, it’s hard to know how far it will get.

The Risk of Sexual Harm Order does seem a bit odd, especially as he wasn’t ‘in costume’ when the offence was committed. It may be that there is other offending that we don’t know about, or this may be the subject of an appeal.

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

1 COMMENT

  1. Presumably the sexual harm order is because Father Christmasses tend to have children sitting on their laps, often while parents are stressed / taking care of other siblings / checking their shopping / generally not paying as much attention as usual to what’s going on. I’m not usually a fan of restricting people’s lawful activities unless absolutely necessary, but this does seem a sensible precaution given how much opportunity that particular job would give him to commit a serious offence.

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