Page last updated at 10:50 GMT, Thursday, 28 January 2010

Caution urged over Stoke-on-Trent teenage rape sentence

A retired district judge has urged caution over assuming that a three-year sentence for a teenage rapist is insufficient punishment.

Balal Khan, 14, of Stoke-on-Trent, was sentenced to three years in a young offenders institution after he admitted raping and robbing a 20-year-old woman.

Monmouth MP David Davies said the sentence was "disgraceful" and has asked for a Court of Appeal review.

Ex-judge Graham Richards said it was not comparable with an adult sentence.

He said: "The offence itself is so very rare, there is no standard sentence."

'Enough for whom'

Khan was 13 when he raped the woman in Cobridge, Stoke-on-Trent, last year.

The judge is only dealing with the accused, though he takes the victim's condition into account as well.
Former north Staffordshire district judge Graham Richards

The Conservative MP Mr Davies said "just three years" was a disgraceful sentence and asked how the young man could have such disregard for a woman.

Harriet Harman, who was standing in for Gordon Brown at Prime Ministers Questions on Wednesday said she thought the Attorney General would consider a referral to the Court of Appeal.

Mr Richards, a retired district judge from north Staffordshire said: "But enough for whom, enough for the victim or the accused. The judge is only dealing with the accused, though he takes the victim's condition into account as well.

"The judge will have had a number of psychiatric reports and other reports about the accused, none of which will, or should have been made public, and those are the criteria on which he makes a decision which he feels is appropriate.

"Without making any comment on this case at all, a 13-year-old can not possibly be dealt with in the way you would with a 22 or 24-year-old," he added.



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