Rejected petition A review of the unduly lenient sentence given to James John Matthews

On 18th September 2020, the former Deputy Head and Safe Guarding Officer of St John's Primary School received an unduly lienient sentence of just 2 years and 9 months, having pleaded guilty to making 33 indecent photographs of children and sending messages of an indecent nature.

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In passing sentence the presiding judge, Deputy Bailiff Robert McRae QC said they had taken into account his genuine remorse, his profound sense of shame and determination to address your behaviour. They gave some but not a great deal of weight to his previous good character".

Good character! This man was in a POSITION OF TRUST, the TRUST OF OUR CHILDREN. He made indecent images and video in category A, the most serious category. A HIGHER SENTENCE MUST BE PASSED TO REFLECT THIS.

This petition was rejected

Why was this petition rejected?

It’s about something that Ministers or the States Assembly is not responsible for.

It's an important principle that the States Assembly, as the Island's legislature, does not interfere with the sentences passed by the court. There is a process whereby the Attorney General may refer an apparently lenient sentence to the Court of Appeal for consideration if he thinks that the Royal Court "erred in law as to its powers of sentencing" or "failed to impose a sentence which it was required by law to impose". However, it would not be appropriate for the States Assembly to instruct or request the Attorney General to do this. The Assembly is responsible for the overall framework of law in this area, including the range of sentences which may be imposed, but not the sentencing decisions taken in individual cases.

We only reject petitions that don’t meet the petition standards.