July 2004

Scout leader starts jail term

A SCOUTMASTER who was fined £2,000 for abusing youngsters in his care, will today start a 12-month jail sentence handed down by the Appeal Court.

There was outrage last year when a York Crown Court judge imposed the fine on David Clifford Scrivener.

Appeal Court judges yesterday accepted a plea from the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith QC, that the fine was unduly lenient.

Lord Justice Latham, sitting with Mr Justice Gray and Sir John Alliott, said Scrivener should have been sentenced to at least two years behind bars.

Taking into account the delay in the case coming to court, and that Scrivener, 54, was facing the “double jeopardy” of being sentenced for a second time, the court sentenced him to 12 months in prison.

Scrivener’s relatives wept as the court ordered he must surrender to custody at Scarborough Police Station by midday today to begin serving his sentence.

Scrivener, of Church Lane, Fylingthorpe, near Whitby, North Yorkshire, was convicted of four counts of indecent assault at York Crown Court in April last year.

Between 1989 and 2002 he subjected four boys, aged ten or 11, to assaults while on camping expeditions in Yorkshire, said Lord Justice Thorpe.

The offences, in which Scrivener touched boys’ intimately inside their sleeping bags, came to light in 2002 when two boys complained to their mothers. He had been a scoutmaster for 22 years when he was convicted.

The revelations prompted two other former scouts, now in their 20s, to come forward and complain about Scrivener’s behaviour in the past.

Scrivener’s legal team mounted a defence and tried to have the original conviction overturned.

They claimed he was damned in the eyes of the jury before they had heard the evidence against him because all the allegations were tried at the same time.

Lord Justice Latham dismissed Scrivener’s appeal, rejecting claims from his counsel, Mark McKone, that there was a “lurking doubt” about the safety of the jury’s verdicts.

At an earlier hearing, Richard Horwell, for the Attorney General, said Scrivener should be sent to prison in order to send a message to would-be child molesters that such offending would not be tolerated by the courts.