Robert Newman, 23, from Wiltshire, previously admitted having sex with a goat, contrary to s.69 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. He was bailed until sentence and the conditions of his bail prohibited him from entereing any land where farm animals were kept. There was also a curfew from 7pm to 7am.
Sexual Offences Act 2003 s 69
(1)A person commits an offence if—
(a)he intentionally performs an act of penetration with his penis,
(b)what is penetrated is the vagina or anus of a living animal, and
(c)he knows that, or is reckless as to whether, that is what is penetrated.
(2)A person (A) commits an offence if—
(a)A intentionally causes, or allows, A’s vagina or anus to be penetrated,
(b)the penetration is by the penis of a living animal, and
(c)A knows that, or is reckless as to whether, that is what A is being penetrated by.
The maximum penalty is 2 years (at the Crown Court). When sentenced at the Magistrates’ Court, the maximum sentence is 6 months.
ITV reported that Newman was imprisoned for 6 weeks. The report continued to state how his representative Anne Ellery read a statement to the court. It said:
I don’t want to be this bad person any more. I just want to get on with my life and do good.
I want to stand before you and say I am sorry and I just want to be back with my family.
However, we understand that Newman changed his plea from not guilty to guilty and so it is likely that he will not have received a full 1/3 discount for doing so.
Further, the Telegraph reported that Newman was in breach of an 8-week suspended sentence imposed for burglary.
That sentence was activated in full.
Newman was then sentenced to 6 weeks for the animal intercourse offence, which would be served concurrent (at the same time) to the activated suspended sentence.
The total sentence was therefore 8 weeks.
We do not know the facts of the incident with the goat and so it is difficult to assess. We understand that it was an isolated incident at night.
Gail Chilcott, chair of the bench told Newman:
“Mr Newman you have repeatedly breached all court orders handed to you.
“This is your second breach of your suspended court order.
“We are therefore activating the suspension and you will go to prison for eight weeks.
“For this offence today you will serve six weeks. That will be concurrent rather than consecutive because we accept this is an isolated incident.”
Victim impact statement
The court reportedly heard a victim impact statement from the owner of the goat.
The guideline only has one category, labelled ‘basic offence as defined in SOA 2003 with no aggravating or mitigating features’. The starting point is a community order and so it is hard to see how a 6 week custodial sentence would be justified, if there was a plea and the offence was an isolated incident.
It may well be that there is an appeal. We do not know how much of the suspended sentence had been complied with, however the fact that this appears to have been a second breach will not have helped matters. There may be an argument to say that the suspended sentence should not have been activated in full and so the sentence should be shorter.
If we hear any news regarding an appeal, we’ll be sure to update you all.