July 2010

Devon paedophile spared jail due to ‘treatment delay’

A paedophile has been spared prison because a judge said authorities would not be able to put him on a treatment programme during his sentence.

Harry Pullin, 70, was instead given a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years, for abusing a boy under 16.

Judge Philip Wassall at Exeter Crown Court said any team who dealt with offenders in jail would not reach him by the time he had served his sentence.

Pullin, from Devon, was put on a sex offenders’ treatment programme.

He was also placed on the sex offenders register.

‘Sad state’

Sentencing Pullin, from Newton Abbot, on Monday, the judge said that he agreed with the teenager’s parents that Pullin should be “locked up for as long as possible” after he admitted sexual activity with a boy.

However, he said that if he had jailed Pullin for 12 months, people who deal with sex offenders in prison would not have reached him by the time his sentence was served because of work-loads, not even “with the best will in the world”.

“That is the sad state of reality and he would come out untreated,” the judge said.

As well as being placed on the register for 10 years, Pullin was given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order banning him from from having contact with children under 16.

Community supervision

He also received a restraining order to keep him away from his victim’s family.

A Prison Service spokesperson said: “Sentencing is entirely a matter for the courts.”

A source within the Ministry of Justice said judges were made aware through the Judicial Studies Board of what treatments were available, both in prison and in the community and how they were delivered.

He said there were a range of custodial and community sentences that could be passed.

They included community supervision with a treatment requirement if a custodial sentence was not long enough for a prison programme to be completed.