Benjamin Mills will not get stricter sentence for having child abuse images | #childabuse | #children | #kids

A TADLEY man that was told to undergo rehabilitation after he was caught with hundreds of child abuse images will not have his sentence reviewed.

Benjamin Mills was spared jail time after he was caught with 562 indecent images of children.

These included 109 category A images, 14 of which were movies, in what the court heard was an addiction to images that showed children aged from two months up to 14 years of age.

He was given a 24-month community order, with 30 rehabilitation days, last year, but the case was referred to the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme.

The scheme, run by the Attorney General’s Office, allows members of the public to apply to have a Crown Court sentence reviewed if they believe it to be unduly lenient.

But Alex Chalk QC MP, Solicitor General, decided not to refer the case to the Court of Appeal because “the threshold is a high one”.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: “After careful consideration the Solicitor General has concluded that he could not refer this case to the Court of Appeal.

“A referral under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme to the Court of Appeal can only be made if a sentence is not just lenient but unduly so, such that the sentencing judge made a gross error or imposed a sentence outside the range of sentences reasonably available in the circumstances of the offence.

“The threshold is a high one, and the test was not met in this case.”

In mitigation at the sentencing at Winchester Crown Court in October 2020, Adrienne Knight, defending Mills, of Searing Way, Tadley, said: “He is certainly so ashamed. He described today as being the low point of his entire life.

“His addiction started from a young age, that got worse and worse and worse. It is not different to any other addiction.”

In a letter to the court, an acquaintance of Mills said: “He is a lovely man behind his terrible addiction which he has developed over the years.”

In sentencing, His Honour Judge Keith Cutler imposed a 24-month community order, with 30 rehabilitation days.

He added: “This may be the lowest point in your life but let’s start from here in a positive and constructive way.

“You understand fortunately that this was wrong. I am confident you will never appear before the court again but that is obviously something you have got to work on.”

Mills will be on the sex offenders’ register and part of a sexual harm prevention order for five years.

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