Notts MP calls for sentencing guidance rethink after Worksop man caught with 8,000 indecent images is spared jail

A Nottinghamshire MP has called on the Government to have a rethink over guidance which says a suspended sentence is the ‘equivalent’ to a custodial one after a Worksop man caught with 8,000 indecent images was spared jail.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 11:37 am

Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield raised his concerns following the case of John Malarek from Sunnyside, Worksop who was given a two-year suspended sentence earlier this month after being convicted of possessing 8,000 indecent images of children – with many in the worst category.

Police recovered thousands of indecent images and videos of children after seizing electronic media devices from his home on Sunnyside in February last year.

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More than 250 were graded as category A – the most serious acts of sexual abuse against children.

Mr Bradley highlighted the sentencing during a Ministry of Justice Oral Questions debate in Parliament, saying the man ‘will likely never see the inside of a prison cell’.

He praised the Government’s pledge to be tough on crime, but believed the sentence was inconsistent with proposals.

Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield

“I was incredibly concerned when I heard about the sentence of the Worksop man who avoided jail, despite being convicted of possessing 8,000 indecent images of children,” he said.

"Cases like this one need to be met with the full force of the law.

“Sentencing guidelines say that a suspended sentence is ‘equivalent’ to a custodial one, but this is obviously nonsense.”

He urged the Government to ensure offenders who commit serious crimes, where children have been exploited and abused, are given a punishment that fits the crime.

Justice Minister, Chris Philip, informed the Mansfield MP that the maximum penalty for the offence of taking indecent photographs of children is 10 years’ imprisonment.

He also pointed out that applications can be made to the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme if an offence is sentenced at a lower level and viewed as inappropriate.

Applications must be made within 28 days.

“I’m fully supportive of Government’s aim to get tough on law and order, but I feel as though examples like this in Worksop go under the radar,” said Mr Bradley.

"I’m relieved to hear that anyone can request that the Attorney General looks at a sentence again if they feel it is too low through the Unduly Lenient Sentences Scheme, but I hope that the Minister will also look at this issue more broadly.”

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