Judge’s ‘dilemma’ over past sex offences

Court news
Court news

A judge said he faced a dilemma when sentencing a 47 year old for sex offences committed when he was young.

David Baulch, of Ifoldhurst, Ifold, was given a two year jail sentence, suspended for two years.

He had been convicted after a trial on two counts of indecent assault, dating back to the late 70s and early 80s. The jury found him not guilty on one other count of indecent assault. He had pleaded not guilty on all three counts, and denied any wrongdoing.

Hove Trial Centre heard that he was aged between 11 and his early teens at the time of the offences, while his two victims were younger.

Jeffrey Lamb, representing Baulch, said: “Most significantly in terms of mitigation, they were all at least 34 years ago. Since that time, save for a single caution, he has led an impeccable life. He has always worked, in forestry and landscape gardening, et cetera.”

He asked Judge David Rennie not to jail Baulch over ‘events that happened a long time ago when he was very young, and only a year or so after having passed the age of criminal responsibility’.

Sentencing, Judge Rennie told Baulch: “It was your choice, as an adult, to deny these offences.

“A necessary consequence of that was that you chose to put [the victims] through the ordeal of a trial in which, quite properly, Mr Lamb had to accuse them of lying.

“The jury saw through that - they saw the truth.

“You caused great harm and across the years, albeit in different ways, what you did casts a long shadow.”

However, he added: “The passing of time and your age at the time cannot be ignored.

“People who know you well have spoken positively about your good qualities.

“My dilemma as a judge is how to sentence you, in 2016, 32 years after you committed very serious offences against young boys.”

Talking about the length of time it had taken for the incidents to be reported to police, Judge Rennie said: “It’s a completely understandable state of affairs that both of these victims found it too painful.

“It’s clear from the victim statements that they’ve both been marked.”

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