A FORMER scout leader, jailed for his sickening abuse of children over more than two decades, has failed to convince Appeal Court judges his trial was unfair.
David Burland, who worked in the scout movement in the Burnham and Highbridge area, was convicted of a string of sex offences against children, which started in 1987.
He was jailed for 15 years, with an extended six-year licence period, at Taunton Crown Court in February last year, after being found guilty of 18 counts of indecent assault, 12 of sexual assault, two of indecency with a child and one count of indecent exposure.
The 55-year-old, of Ramsay Way, Burnham, this week challenged his convictions at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, with his lawyers arguing they were ‘unsafe’ because the judge misdirected the jury.
They claimed the judge’s mistake clearly had an effect on the jury – as one member declared she did not agree with the verdicts.
But his appeal was dismissed by three of the country’s top judges, who said the juror’s dissent came ‘too late’ and there was no basis to challenge the guilty verdicts.
Burland’s crimes came to light in 2010 after he sexually assaulted a girl who had previously confided in an adult that she was concerned about his behaviour towards her.
It emerged he had also subjected three teenage boys to abuse, threatening them if they spoke out.
The former scout leader used beer and pornography to convince the boys to engage in sexual activity with him.
Most of the offences related to one victim, who suffered abuse over a six-year period.
Burland was suspended from the scouts when the allegations first surfaced and, after he was found guilty, the Scout Association said he would never work with the organisation again.
His lawyers urged the Appeal Court to overturn his convictions, saying the trial judge’s misdirection meant the jury’s verdicts could not be ‘safe’ – as shown by one juror’s ‘lack of agreement’ with the rest of the panel.
But, dismissing the appeal, Lord Justice Treacy said the juror’s dissent was ‘plainly too late’, coming after the jury had been discharged and left the building.
Sitting with Mr Justice Saunders and Judge John Milford QC, he added: “There is no basis upon which this jury’s verdicts are open to challenge, therefore the convictions are safe and the appeal is dismissed.”
Paedophile scout leader David Burland jailed for 15 years
A scout leader in Somerset has been sentenced to 15 years in prison after being found guilty of 33 sexual offences against children.
David Burland, of Ramsay Way, Burnham-on-Sea, was convicted of carrying out the abuse over a 23-year period, between 1987 and November 2010.
Burland, 54, worked in the Scout movement in the Burnham and Highbridge areas, where he committed the offences.
He was sentenced at Taunton Crown Court after being found guilty on 3 February.
Burland was suspended from the Scouts when the allegations first came to light and since being found guilty the Scout Association has said he will never be allowed to work with the organisation again.
While handing down the sentence, Judge Graham Hume-Jones, said that over many years parents had trusted Burland as a scout master and a pillar of the local community, to take care of their children, but he had betrayed that trust.
Burland was also told he will be on-licence for six years, to return to custody if he commits further offences following his release after serving the 15-year jail term.
Det Con Mark Fudge said: “He’s clearly a cunning man who’s used his position of trust to groom these young children, the parents also trusted him and he’s carried on doing what he wanted to do thinking he wouldn’t get caught but he has been.”
Speaking of the victims who gave evidence during the trial, Det Con Fudge, said “it took exceptional courage to stand up put their heads above the parapet”.
The father was caught out as he sexually assaulted a girl who had previously confided in an adult that she was concerned about Burland’s behaviour towards her.
During the trial, prosecutor Ian Fenny told the jury Burland was a sexual predator who manipulated his victims.
The scout leader used beer and pornography to convince the boys to engage in sexual activity with him.
Twenty-two of the charges against Burland related to one victim who suffered up to six years of abuse. Burland was found guilty of 18 charges of indecent assault with a boy under 16, nine charges of sexually assaulting boys under 16, three counts of sexually assaulting a girl under 16, two counts of indecency with a child and one count of indecent exposure.