Michael Souter sentenced to 22 years

Michael Souter sentenced to 22 years




We covered the case of Michael Souter, the former BBC presenter who was convicted of various sexual offences on 17th October 2013. On 31st October, he was sentenced to 22 years for these.



We don’t have the details of the offending, but there were 19 charges of indecent assault and 7 of ‘making and possessing indecent images’. Indecent Assault and the child pornography offences have maximum sentences of 10 years, so there must have been use of consecutive sentences.

We have a factsheet on historic sexual offences that gives some guidance in relation to sentencing. The sentencing remarks have not been made public yet, so all we have to go on is the news reports.



Without the detail of the offending it is not possible to be sure about the sentences passed in this case. If and when the sentencing remarks are released, we will return to this. All we can say at this stage is that the sentence appears, on the face of it, to be manifestly excessive.

We can say that, as it is not even in the right ballpark for offending of this nature. For example, a series of rapes of different victims (a far more serious offence with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment) has a sentencing bracket after a trial of 19 years.

It may be that the most likely explanation for this is that the reporter has got the sentence wrong and mistaken concurrent sentences for consecutive ones.

If that is wrong, then unless there is some very unusual feature that we are not aware of, the sentence looks ripe for an appeal.

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