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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 October 2007, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Law chief's plea over child rapes
Attorney General Baroness Scotland
Baroness Scotland said the sentences were too "lenient"
The Attorney General has urged appeal judges to increase the "unduly lenient" jail sentences for two men convicted of raping under-age girls.

Devon chef Simon Foster,26, raped a 12-year-old girl, and Oxford window cleaner Keith Fenn,24, raped a 10-year-old girl.

Baroness Scotland argued in court that the two-year terms passed for both men should not be allowed to stand.

She said: "Sexual activity with girls of 10 and 12 will not be tolerated."

Sexual offences

Foster, of Britannia Avenue, Dartmouth, was jailed at Exeter Crown Court in June by Judge Jeffery Rucker after he admitted a series of sexual offences against a 12-year-old girl, including two counts of rape.

Fenn, of Blackbird Leys, Oxford, was also sentenced the same month at Oxford Crown Court by Judge Julian Hall after he pleaded guilty to two charges of rape against a 10-year-old.

Because of the amount of time he has already spent in prison awaiting sentence, Fenn has a release date of 19 October.

In both cases, lawyers said the men thought the girls were older and they did not have to force them to have sex.

But Baroness Scotland told the appeal judges that "too great a discount has been afforded to the offenders by the judges who sentenced them".

She said: "The sentences of two years' imprisonment passed in these cases fall so far outside the Sentencing Guideline Council's eight to 13 years, as to be properly regarded as an unduly lenient sentence.

"Custodial terms of that length do not sufficiently punish the offender for the harm that he has caused, nor protect young girls, and it does not deter as these sentences for this sort of offence must."

The Judges' Council said it was unable to comment on the Baroness' appeal because judgement on one of the cases had been deferred and the other one had not come to court yet.

Appeal over 'short' rape sentence
20 Jul 07 |  Oxfordshire

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