September 2017

Man who raped toddler walks FREE from court

A man who raped a toddler leaving his victim psychologically scarred for life today walked FREE from court.

John Mason, 51, was aged between 14 and 16 when he sexually abused a little boy in Liverpool in the early 1980s.

The dad-of-five admitted an offence of indecent assault, which today would be classed as oral rape – and carry a maximum life sentence.

But offenders must be punished under the law at the time the crimes were committed – when the maximum sentence was only three months.

Judge Denis Watson, QC, said he also had to give Mason credit for his guilty plea, meaning in reality he would spend just weeks behind bars.

The judge said: “There is no real purpose imposing what would seem to everybody to be a ridiculously short sentence.”

Liverpool Crown Court heard that when the victim was a teen, Mason confessed to him but he made no report to police.

The victim recalled the abuse, when Mason took off both their clothes and said: “I’ll do it to you and you do it to me.”

Robert Dudley, prosecuting, said: “He was left scared and confused and suffered nightmares and bed-wetting.”

Ahead of a trip to Scotland – where Mason now lives – the victim told his girlfriend he had been orally raped.

He suffered from depression and later also disclosed to his GP that he had been molested as a child.

He was referred for counselling and told the counsellor how he had been left “frightened and ashamed”.

Today the victim said he feared he would not be believed and suffered nightmares for 10 years.

He said: “Having to live and cope with what has happened to me has been and still is an everyday struggle.”

Mason told an ex-wife in 1995 that he had forced his young victim to perform oral sex on him.

In 2010 the victim’s mum contacted police and told officers Mason was a danger to children.

Mason then came to visit his daughter in Liverpool and confessed to her that he had abused the boy.

A complaint was made to police in 2015, which led to Mason being interviewed in 2016, when he made no comment.

Mason, now of Carmelite Street, Banff, Aberdeenshire was interviewed again in February, but again made no comment.

Prosecutors were unable to say whether Mason was 14, 15, or 16 at the time, due to uncertainty over when the rape happened.

A defendant’s age affects sentences available and when there is doubt, the benefit of any doubt is given to a defendant.

Under the old Criminal Justice Act 1961, the maximum sentence a 14-year-old could receive for this offence was three months detention.

Mr Dudley said the court also had to take into account his lack of previous convictions, the remorse shown by his confessions and “the fact that this case would not have come to light without the first of those confessions”.

Judge Denis Watson, QC, handed Mason a three-year community order and told him to sign on the Sex Offenders Register for five years.