Fred Talbot – guilty of abusing two children

Fred Talbot – guilty of abusing two children

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Introduction

Fred Talbot, the popular teacher turned TV weatherman, stood trial between 20th January and 13th February 2015 accused of 10 counts of indecent assault.

On 13th February he was convicted of two counts out of the ten.

 

Facts

The details are vague. We know there were six counts of indecent assault against one pupil (alleged to have been aged 14-15) where Mr Talbot accepted a relationship, but stated that it was consensual after the complainant had turned 16 (the age of consent has gone up since then). The allegations include offences of masturbation, oral sex and digital penetration, all taking place between October 25 1969 and October 24 1970.

The remaining charges were: an allegation of indecent assault, by masturbation, on a male under 16, between January 1 1975 and December 31 1976; the same offence against another male under 16 between the same dates; and indecent assault by sexual touching on a fourth complainant between January 1 1977 and December 31 1977.

The final count of buggery is said to have occurred against the fifth complainant, aged under 21 at the time, on or around August 2 1983.

It seems that he was convicted of two counts of indecent assault and acquitted of the remainder. The two convictions related to boys who were aged 14 and 15 in 1975 and 1976.

 

Sentence

We have a fact sheet on sentencing for historical cases. This is an area that is evolving, and we are moving towards the position where the sentence passed is the one that would be passed now, unless this is higher than the maximum lawful sentence.

The starting point are the guidelines. The difficulty here is that we have no idea which of the offences the jury found were proved. The maximum sentence will be 10 years, but it is not possible to say much more until the actual two offences that resulted in convictions are identified.

Mr Talbot was remanded in custody until sentence on 13th March, presumably for a Pre-Sentence Report. The BBC reported the Judge as saying that “his sentence should start immediately bearing in mind his “abuse of trust”. This is not a correct statement of the law relating to bail, but we presume that this is mis-reporting rather than the Judge re-writing the bail act.

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

5 COMMENTS

  1. Can you explain why parts of the evidence were not allowed to be reported on and why is the Judge’s Summing Up not published anywhere to read ? Is the latter standard practice ?
    Thanks.

    • It may be that there was legal argument that meant the jury could not hear the evidence? The press is generally free to report any evidence that is heard in open court in front of the jury. I’m not sure what wasn’t reported.

      As to why the Summing Up isn’t published? Depends on who you ask. There are difficulties in that all the complainants in this case have anonymity and so it would need to be redacted before publishing. Even so, it would be very easy to do this and have the summing up the next day (after it was checked by lawyers for both sides).

      There would be a cost, but this would be minimal in the scheme of things. I’m not sure why there such a practice, I don’t know. It is standard though, summings up are never published sadly.

  2. Thanks for that, Dan.
    One more:- it already appears that other accusations may arise following this verdict. If Talbot wanted additional offences to be taken into account for sentencing to lower the risk of more trials (as per Stuart Hall), at what point would he bring those to the Judge’s attention ? Or is it already too late with his Not Guilty plea ? Cheers.

    • No problems.

      In practice ‘taking into consideration’ would not be something that would happen in sex cases due to the heightened sensitivity around them. It is normally, say, where there are a string of burglaries. This would be done before sentence where the police drew up a schedule of offences and the defendant would sign them and they would be given to the Court at the sentencing hearing.

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