Two rapists jailed for just 40 months each because a judge said their 11-year-old victim was ‘willing’
Judge even agrees with defendants that girl ‘looked 14′
Evidence that men circulated film of rapes on mobile phone
CPS considers appeal against ‘unduly lenient’ sentences
By Richard Hartley-parkinson
Last updated at 4:40 PM on 21st February 2012
Judge David Farrell agreed that he thought the girl looked like she was 14
Two men have been jailed for just 40 months each for raping an 11-year-old girl after a judge agreed she was a ‘willing participant’, despite being five years below the age of consent.
Roshane Channer and Ruben Monteiro admitted assaulting the child in a block of flats in Luton, Bedfordshire.
Despite describing their crime as ‘abhorrent’, Judge David Farrell QC jailed the defendants, who are both 21, for less than three and a half years.
He said this was because he accepted their claim that she was a willing participant and agreed that she looked like she was 14. The legal age for consent is 16.
Rape Crisis spokesman Yvonne Traynor described the sentences for the attacks, which were filmed and are believed to have been circulated on a mobile phone, as being ‘among the worst’ she had ever heard of.
She said: ‘The abhorrence of this case spreads the ignorance of a judge that can believe that an 11-year-old could have been a “willing participant”.’
Guidelines in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 suggest sentencing for rape of a child under 13 should be between 10 and 13 years in prison.
The Crown Prosecution Service is now considering an appeal against the ‘unduly lenient’ sentences.
The rape took place in a block of flats in Luton in July last year
Channer and Monteiro had sex with the girl in July last year in a block of flats in Luton Bedfordshire.
She was there with a group of teenagers and Channer had sex with her on a landing at the flats while Monteiro had oral sex with her.
Judge Farrell said: ‘Despite her age it is accepted that she was a willing participant, but the law is there to protect young girls from this type of behaviour and to protect them from themselves.
‘The girl had clearly been subjected to systematic sexual exploitation and you willingly used her for your own sexual gratification.
‘It is aggravated by the fact that the event was being videoed.’
He added that there was evidence the footage had been circulated as it was found on one of the defendant’s phones.
Both Channer and Monteiro pleaded guilty to a single charge of rape and will have to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.
Judge Farrell said there were exceptional features to the case which led him to reduce the sentences to 40 months.
The two men had maintained they believed the girl was at least 14, and, after viewing evidence, the judge agreed she appeared that age.
He said the prosecution accepted that the girl had not objected to what was happening, and the men had pleaded guilty at the earliest stage and did not have previous convictions for sexual offences.
Miss Traynor told the Luton Express: ‘Does [Judge Farrell] not understand the age of consent and the psychological impact this despicable act will have on this child?
‘Any man that thinks it is acceptable to have group rape with an 11-year-old – or even a 14-year-old – and film it deserves a much longer sentence so that he can sit and think about his crime and subsequently have some in-depth mental health treatment so that he will not be a danger to any other 11-year-old when he is released.’
Peter Bradley, Deputy Director at Kidscape, said: ‘Even though there were “exceptional features” the sentencing of these two men is far too lenient and gives out the wrong message to potential other offenders.
‘The girl may have looked 14 but even so this would also have been a serious crime.
‘It is unlikely the two men will have to serve their full sentence – hopefully the time they spend in prison will allow them to follow a suitable programme ensuring they are safe for release in the next few years.’