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Sentence reduced for sex offender

Sex offender Milton Richardson has been released from prison after having his sentence reduced.

Richardson, a 48-year-old former youth group leader, was jailed for a total of 18 months in May after being convicted of sexually exploiting a young boy on two occasions last January. During the trial, the court heard that Richardson had kissed the boy on his neck, ear and, on one occasion, forced his tongue into the boy's mouth.

On the stand in Magistrates' Court during his trial, Richardson maintained his innocence, stating that he may have accidentally kissed the corner of the boy's mouth but he never touched the boy for a sexual purpose.

However, Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo found Richardson guilty, saying: “There is no remorse on the part of the defendant, who is wholly to blame for the offence — and it is one that is being uncovered all too frequently in the community.”

He subsequently launched appeals against both his conviction and his sentence. While Chief Justice Ian Kawaley rejected his appeal against conviction, in a subsequent hearing on December 10, Richardson's sentence was reduced by a third to a period of one year.

Defence lawyer Michael Scott, who represented Richardson during the hearing, said he had argued that the Bermuda sentencing guidelines for sexual offences recommend a sentencing range of between one week and six months with a starting sentence of 12 weeks such cases.

“The Supreme Court upheld the appeal against sentence noting that the guidelines are there to be followed, and a compelling case or reason for departing from the guidelines has to be made out before disregarding them,” he said.

The court quashed the 18-month sentence, and substituted it with sentences of six months for each of the four offences for which Richardson was convicted. While three of the sentences were ordered to run concurrently, the fourth was ordered to run consecutively, resulting in a total sentence of 12 months.

Mr Scott added that as Richardson had already spent nine months — two thirds of his sentence — in custody, he was released immediately.

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Milton Richardson

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Published December 23, 2014 at 3:36 pm (Updated December 24, 2014 at 12:59 am)

Sentence reduced for sex offender

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