We covered the case of Lauren Cox, the 27 year old teacher who pleaded guilty to five (or maybe four) counts of sexual activity with a child under 18 in a position of trust.
We said that we thought the sentence would be in the region of 15-18 months, which careful consideration as to whether it would be suspended. How did we do?
Factual background and sentence
Ms Cox first met the victim when he was 13, but although it appeared there was an element of inappropriate closeness, nothing happened until the boy was 16.
At that point Ms Cox began a sexual relationship with him (including full intercourse) over a 6 month period in 2015, before the victim’s mother because aware of this and reported it to the police.
There was an investigation (it appears that the victim may not have co-operated with this, and so other avenues were pursued).
It seems that Ms Cox received a sentence of 12 months on 3 counts (concurrent), with 8 months on two others (again concurrent) that were presumably not involving full penetration.
The Judge indicated that he was not able to suspend the sentence.
Comment and why was it not suspended?
We obviously got the sentence a bit wrong – it seems that the Judge followed the Guidelines to the letter (p68), giving full credit for the plea of guilty. Neither party would be able to argue with the sentence, and we doubt that any appeal would be successful.
As to why it was not suspended, it is depressing that 13 years after the passing of the 2003 Act there is still no real guidance as to when a sentence can or should be suspended.
We suspect that this is due to concern that it would be a hostage to fortune, and the Court of Appeal (and Crown Courts) would be deluged with appeals from people who received immediate custodial sentences. That, although understandable, is less helpful that it could be to Courts and practitioners.