Michael Souter, a former BBC radio presenter, has been convicted of 19 sexual offences committed on seven boys aged 11-16 between 1979 and 1999.
He was also convicted of seven counts of making and possessing indecent images.
The BBC reported that the offences were sexual assaults. Astute readers will realise that the offence of sexual assault (under the 2003 Sexual Offences Act) was only in force from 1 May 2004 and therefore was not available at any time during the period in which Souter committed the offences.
The offences are therefore likely to be indecent assault on a man under the Sexual Offences Act 1956 s 15. In contrast to the corresponding offence for assaults on women (section 14), the maximum sentence for the section 15 offence is and has always been 10 years.
We are unaware of the facts of the offences of which Souter was convicted however the BBC report states that during the trial the court heard how Souter used his celebrity status to carry out the attacks. In terms of a likely sentence, whilst it is impossible to assess without knowing the facts, the use of celebrity status to perpetrate the attacks on the boys is a seriously aggravating factor.
Readers may wish to cast their minds back to the Stuart Hall Attorney-General’s Reference judgment and remind themselves of the stern message the then Lord Chief Justice appeared to send out to celebs committing historic sex offences.