Justice and the Law

Attorney General’s office rules out teacher sentence referral

Complaints about Stuart Kerner's suspended sentence.

Attorney General to make decision on whether to refer sentence of teacher to Appeal Court 9th February. Image:@AGO_UK

The Attorney General’s Office has decided it has no scope to review the suspended prison sentence imposed on teacher Stuart Kerner for having an affair with a 16 year old pupil.

The was within 24 hours of receiving complaints about the judge’s decision.

It was reported yesterday that Judge Joanna Greenberg QC at Inner London Crown Court said in sentencing:

Her friends described her, accurately in my view, as stalking you […] If grooming is the right word to use, it was she who groomed you, (and) you gave in to temptation.

Mr. Kerner taught religious studies and was vice principal at the Bexleyheath Academy.

He has been placed on the sexual offenders’ register and barred from working with children indefinitely as part of his sentence.

The sentence and reported comments have been criticized in the media as ‘unduly lenient.’

Criticism of sentence and judge's comments in Mail, Telegraph, Mirror and Independent.

Criticism of sentence and judge’s comments in Mail, Telegraph, Mirror and Independent.

The Attorney General’s Office  has now backtracked on an initial willingness to review the sentence.

After looking at the legal situation it’s been decided there is no power to refer the matter to the Court of Appeal:

We carefully considered whether Stuart Kerner’s sentence could be referred to the Court of Appeal for being too low – as part of the unduly lenient sentence scheme.

Mr Kerner’s crimes are not included in this scheme, meaning the law officers are unable to refer this.

However, it’s important that the public can challenge what they believe to be exceptionally low sentences. We have been looking at whether the scope of the current scheme is right.

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