We looked last week at the case of Simon Reynolds, a vicar who was convicted of stealing about £24,000 from his Parish. He didn’t turn up for the verdict, but on 27th July 2015 he handed himself in, and was sentenced for the theft and Failing to Surrender to Court, on 28th July.
We are told that he was jailed for 32 months. On the face of it, this would be made up of a fairly hefty sentence for the theft, with a small consecutive sentence for not turning up to Court.
There are guidelines for sentencing people who don’t turn up to Court. Looking at page 14, this was clearly a deliberate act of the not-so-good vicar. However, there was no real delay caused to the administration and there was a voluntary surrender that was prompt(ish).
In addition, he did plead guilty. We would thought that an extra 14 days would have been enough to mark the offence and the inconvenience. In fact, the Judge gave him 2 months for the Failing to Surrender. It is more than we would have expected, but in any appeal, the Court would look at the whole sentence.
As to the theft? It was clearly serious. We said that we’d expect a sentence of over 2 years, but not that much over. In fact, he got 2½ years for the thefts.
That seems fair enough in the circumstances, and although there will probably be an appeal, we doubt it will succeed.