January 2019

Sex offender freed from prison after top judges reduce his sentence

A sex offender who was locked up for abusing a young girl when he was a teenager has been released from prison by top judges.

James Doyle, who is now 42, formerly from Salford, sentenced to two-and-a-half years at Manchester Crown Court in July, last year.

His defence team argued during an appeal hearing on Thursday that the jail term was too harsh.

Doyle, from Eccles, was found guilty after a trial of two counts of indecent assault and one of indecency with a child, Judge James Burbidge QC told London’s Appeal Court on Thursday.

The offences dated back several decades.

The judge in Manchester who jailed Doyle earlier told how the victim had suffered ‘significant psychological trauma’ and she has ‘carried that with her throughout the course of her life’.

A probation officer’s report said that he maintained his innocence, but that the risk he posed was manageable in the community.

Doyle’s barrister Richard English argued that his client’s jail term was far too harsh and should have been suspended.

He pointed to the long passage of time since the sex assaults and the ‘limited nature’ of the offending. He has not committed any other offences.

Judge Burbidge said the crown court judge had heard the victim give evidence, and the impact of Doyle’s crimes on her had been ‘devastating’.

Doyle, now of St George’s Crescent, Eccles, was ‘still very much a child’ at the time of his offending and there had been no further crimes since, it was heard.

The appeal judge in London agreed the jail term should have been shorter, and ‘that such a term could and should have been suspended’.

Judge Burbidge allowed the appeal, quashed the jail term and replaced it with a two-year sentence, suspended for 12 months.