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LONDON — The sentence of 15 months in prison for veteran BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall, who has admitted to 14 sex offenses against young girls, will be reviewed by England’s Court of Appeal.
The sentence is to be reviewed after complaints that the 83-year-old host “got off lightly.”
When he confessed and in June was sentenced, the BBC said it was “appalled” that some of the crimes took place in connection with his work at the public broadcaster.
But the CEO of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), Peter Wanless, described the sentence as “not a great day for justice.”
Now, Britain’s attorney general Dominic Grieve has referred the sentence to the Court of Appeal for review through the English legal framework that allows an appeal for sentences deemed to be “unduly lenient.”
Court of Appeal judges will decide whether the sentence should be increased. According to the BBC, Grieve said about 150 complaints were received regarding the length of Hall’s prison term.
The National Association for People Abused in Childhood described the prison time handed down showed his crimes were not taken “seriously enough.” The BBC is investigating claims he was able to abuse girls on its premises.
The judge noted at the time that Hall’s crimes were a part of a “darker side to you, one hidden from public view until now, and a side which you were able to conceal taking advantage of your status as a well-liked celebrity.”
He said he had to sentence Hall based on the maximum sentence available at the time the crimes were committed, which was two to five years.
However, the maximum sentence for similar offenses has more recently been increased to 10 years.
The BBC appointed retired High Court judge Linda Dobbs to lead an investigation into Hall’s conduct at the public broadcaster.
Dobbs took up the review duties after Janet Smith confirmed that she would not be able to oversee this aspect of her review due to a potential conflict of interest.
Dobbs’ investigation will feed into Smith’s ongoing review into the BBC’s culture and practices during the years that Jimmy Savile, the BBC’s stalwart presenter who became the focus of the worst sexual abuse scandal to hit the broadcaster, worked there.
The BBC said Monday Dobbs’ conclusions about Hall “will be published as part of the Dame Janet Smith Review later this year.”
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