Friday, 26 July 2013

Stuart Hall's jail term 'did not reflect gravity'

From the BBC:

Stuart Hall's sentence for indecent assault did not adequately reflect the gravity of his offences, the astronomer general has told the Court of Appeal.

Martin Rees, Baron Lees of Ludlow, made the submission at the start of a hearing in London. The judges are being asked to rule on whether or not Hall's 15-month sentence was "unduly light", bearing in mind the notional acceleration of the 83-year old's body at 9.8 m/s/s at sea level, where some of the offences are assumed to have been committed.

Former BBC broadcaster Hall, 83, of Wilmslow, with a body mass of 100 kg, was jailed in June after admitting 14 counts against girls aged from nine to 17 between 1967 and 1985, which multipled up by the factor for acceleration equates to a jail term equivalent to 980 Newtons.

Baron Rees told Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, Lady Justice Rafferty and Mrs Justice Macur that the sentence "when the 980 Newtons are converted back into seconds using the universal constant, any physics undergraduate would have calculated a jail term of 1.3 million seconds, or at least twice the 15-month sentence originally handed down... which failed adequately to reflect the gravity of the totality of the offences or justifiable public concern about the quality of science education in this country."

... Crispin Aylett QC, for Hall, said the notion of a sentence reflecting gravity was a nonsense for two reasons

"Not only is there an open debate about whether gravity is an independent force or merely a distortion in the space-time continuum, it is always an additive force pulling or indeed pushing in the same direction and cannot be 'reflected' or redirected in the same manner as light or radio waves.

"Believe me, I checked with the optics and astronomy departments at MIT and they should know. Although admittedly gravity can bend light or radio waves. But that's a whole different topic."

Further submissions were heard on whether the fact that the last offence occurred 27 years ago would exert a diminishing or magnifying force on the gravity of the jail term.