John Long released from prison after Judge changes his mind about sentence

John Long released from prison after Judge changes his mind about sentence

Photo from the Metro


My, my the slip rule, that part of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 that allows a Judge to vary a sentence within 56 days of it being passed, has been getting some use recently.

On 2nd June 2016 there was another example, but the other way round this time.


Factual background

John Long was a 20 year old man who pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault – molesting two young boys, including one who was a baby in his pram. There were also “3,074 banned images of children including cartoons, plus 37 pictures and two videos depicting extreme porn and bestiality“.

Originally Mr Long received a sentence of youth detention of 2 years and 8 months. However, for reasons unspecified, the Judge – HHJ Cummings, called the case back in front of him as he had decided that the sentence was ‘too harsh’.

According to the Metro, the Judge imposed a “two-year detention and training order suspended for two years with two years’ supervision“.



What to make of it? It’s difficult to know what to make of the Judge’s decision, without knowing a lot more about the facts of the case.

It is not a decision that the Judge would have taken lightly however. Suspending a sentence, especially for sexual offences, would normally only be done after careful consideration.

Even more consideration would have been given to suspend a sentence that had already been passed.

One point is that the news reports refers to a DTO – a Detention and Training Order. This is a sentence for youths aged under 18 when they are convicted. What the Judge almost certainly passed was 2 years detention in a Young Offenders Institute, but suspended.

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


  1. Must be a YOI sentence, as a DTO cannot be suspended.

    How very odd, given that he reduced the original sentence by 8 months and then suspended it. Do you know if there were any sex programmes imposed? I doubt it, given that the usual sex programmes are imposed with a 3 year community order, as they usually require time in excess of the max 2 years allowed under a SSO.