Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED November 5, 2003

A sentence of two years and six months' imprisonment for offences of committing acts outraging public decency involving offences of looking up women's skirts in public places was manifestly excessive. A three year community rehabilitation order including a sex offender programme would be substituted which would both protect the public and confront the offender's behaviour.Appeal by 'T' against a sentence of two years and six months' imprisonment following a guilty plea on four counts of committing an act outraging public decency. T was 48 years old at the time of the appeal. All four offences involved him attempting to look up women's skirts in public places. T suffered from a psychological condition known as 'paraphilia' by which the sufferer derived sexual pleasure from visual sources. In passing sentence the judge noted that the offences were resultant of T suffering such a condition. On appeal T submitted that the judge had failed to have regard to the principle of totality and had imposed an overall sentence which had been manifestly excessive in the circumstances.HELD: (1) T had pleaded guilty to each offence. Although the offences were upsetting for the victims, they had not involved any physical contact with them. The offences were the result of a long standing psychological condition that dominated T's life but the condition would not lead to more serious sexual offending, therefore, despite the fact that T had committed similar offences on 11 different occasions, and three of the current offences were committed whilst on bail, the total period of imprisonment of 30 months was manifestly excessive. (2) The paramount consideration in passing a new sentence was the need to protect the public, particularly women, in future. (3) It was imperative that T obtained proper treatment for his chronic condition, if he did not do so he would inevitably re-offend and remain a public nuisance. T had started a sex offender's treatment programme in prison in July 2003 and was benefiting from the programme; if he did not finish the course it would have a detrimental effect on his progress unless he took a comparable course. (4) The sentence imposed by the judge would be quashed in respect of all four offences. The proper sentence for T was a three year community rehabilitation order with the attached condition that T comply with the directions of his supervising officer and that T attend and participate in a community sex offenders programme.Appeal allowed in part.

[2003] EWCA Crim 3032