8 February 2018
Danielle Reece-Greenhalgh comments on Jon Venables’ sentencing in The Daily Mirror and Liverpool Echo
Jon Venables, one of the killers of toddler James Bulger, has been jailed for possessing child abuse images for the second time.
He admitted charges of making indecent images of children and one of having a “sickening” paedophile manual.
Danielle Reece-Greenhalgh, Associate at Corker Binning, commented:
“Jon Venables was convicted after pleading guilty to three counts of making (downloading) 1170 indecent photographs of children, including 392 at the most serious Category A level, and one count of possessing a paedophile manual obtained on the dark web. The total sentence determined by Mr Justice Edis was five years. Applying the correct discount of one-third for Venables’ early guilty plea resulted in a total of 40 months imprisonment.
“There has been criticism by campaigners that this sentence does not properly reflect the nature of Venables’ offences. That criticism is of course borne of the continued abhorrence for the crime committed by Venables and Robert Thompson over 25 years ago. However, Mr Justice Edis considered that the proportion of Category A images combined with Venables’ notorious criminal history and his risk of harm to the public permitted him to exceed the sentence provided for in the relevant guidelines.
“Perhaps anticipating the outcry which might result from his sentencing of Venables, Mr Justice Edis noted that he was bound by the sentencing guidelines for the offences before him. However, given that they had been committed whilst still on licence for the murder of James Bulger, the final decision as to his eventual release from prison will in fact be in the hands of the parole board.
“Given the serious and repeated nature of his offences and the continued public interest in this case, it will be interesting to see how the parole board chooses to exercise its authority in due course, especially in light of the ongoing proceedings over its recent decision to release John Worboys.”