Lenient sentence for convicted paedophile criticised

A convicted paedophile who kidnapped and sexually assaulted a three-year-old girl was jailed for a minimum of five years, sparking outrage from the child's family and immediate calls for the 'unduly lenient' sentence to be referred to the Court of Appeal.

The Recorder of Cardiff, Judge John Griffith Williams QC, jailed Craig Sweeney for life and told him he would not be considered for parole for at least five years and 108 days. The girl's family, some of whom left the court in tears as details of the sexual assaults were read out, immediately criticised the sentence.

Cardiff South and Penarth MP Alun Michael said, 'This is another of those cases where I would applaud the approach of the Attorney-General in seeking to challenge what are, to the public, unduly lenient sentences.'

Last weekend it was disclosed that one in 10 judges have had rulings referred to the Court of Appeal because the Attorney-General believed their sentences were 'unduly lenient'. Figures released by Lord Goldsmith under the Freedom of Information Act show that in the past three years he has referred 339 cases to the Appeal Court. In 230 cases the sentence was increased as a result of his action.

Paedophile sentence 'an insult' (icwales.co.uk, 13 June 2006)