We won’t repeat the facts here, but on 20th July 2017 she came to Court for her sentence. After a lengthy hearing, the Judge sentenced her to 6 years.
There was also a separate fraud offence to which Ms Newland pleaded guilty. In relation to that, the Judge said “You used passwords to authorise false payments to fictional bloggers who you yourself had created. You had to create false blogger profiles to commit the fraud“. For this she received 6 months, consecutive to the 6 years she received for the sexual offences.
The Judge started with the Guidelines (see page 13) and stated that it was a 2A offence, probably on the basis of the vulnerability of the victim and the abuse of trust. This gave a starting point of 8 years.
The news report from the Liverpool Echo give some good details of what the Judge said in sentence, and you should definitely read that to get an idea of what was said. Because of the background, and her personal circumstances, the Judge felt able to reduce it. But not be much, and certainly not to the extent that it could be suspended.
In addition, a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (see here for details of what this is) was made banning Ms Newland from :
- befriending or seeking to befriend a person while using a false identity, and
- owning or accessing a device which is capable of accessing the internet unless it is capable of storing browsing history, chatlogs and other data, she does not refuse a request from the police or Probation to view such a device or it’s contents.
As a consequence of the sentence, Ms Newland will be on the Sex Offenders Register for life (something that seemed to have caused her great distress) – this is mandatory, and not something that the Judge had any discretion over.
For completeness, the Guidelines for Fraud are here.
This case is an extremely difficult one, both in terms of the underlying legal issue as to how the criminal law should approach cases of deception like this, and how you should sentence them.
For that reason alone, it is to be hoped that the Court of Appeal look at the sentence and give some guidance as to when, and under what circumstances, a Judge should go outside of the Guidelines.
The time that Ms Newland spent in prison prior to her conviction being quashed will count towards her sentence. But even accounting for that, she will be in prison for a long while.