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Hall jail term 'Inadequate for offences'

Jailed veteran broadcaster Stuart Hall Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Disgraced Cheshire veteran broadcaster Stuart Hall's 15-month prison sentence for sex offences failed to adequately reflect the gravity of his offending or "public concern" over such crimes, the Attorney General has told Court of Appeal judges.

Dominic Grieve made the submission at the start of a hearing in London before Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, Lady Justice Rafferty and Mrs Justice Macur.

The judges are being asked to rule on whether or not Hall's sentence was "unduly lenient", and should be increased.

Hall, 83, from Wilmslow, who admitted 14 counts of indecent assault against girls as young as nine between 1967 and 1987, listened to the proceedings via video-link from HMP Preston. He appeared on screen wearing a deep red T-shirt.

The former It's A Knockout presenter was given the 15-month sentence at Preston Crown Court in June by the Recorder of Preston, Judge Anthony Russell QC.

Mr Grieve told the packed courtroom: "It is submitted that the total sentence of 15 months' imprisonment for 14 incidents of indecent assault committed against 13 female victims aged between the ages of nine and 17 over an 18-year period when couple with the aggravating features...

....failed adequately to reflect the gravity of the totality of the offences, and the public concern about offences of this nature.

"Even if the individual sentences for each count are appropriate sentences given the statutory maximum available, some of the sentences should have been made to run consecutively so that the total sentence passed reflected the culpability of the offender, the harm caused and to deter others."

He said that "it appears to me that the sentence was unduly lenient".

Hall's QC Crispin Aylett argued that there was "nothing wrong" with the sentence imposed.

He told the court: "If the object was to see this man punished, disgraced and financially ruined then all of that has been more than achieved."

The judges have now retired to consider their decision and will not give an announcement before 11.30.

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Contempt moves over Bulger killers

Contempt proceedings are to be brought against a number of people who posted photos claiming to show James Bulger's killers Jon Venables or Robert Thompson on the internet, the Attorney General said today.

Venables was 10 when he and classmate Thompson abducted and murdered two-year-old James in Liverpool in February 1993. Images recently appeared on the social network site Twitter claiming to show an adult Venables, who was released from jail on licence with a new identity in 2001.

The Attorney General said court papers will be served shortly to bring contempt proceedings against those who posted the pictures, which have since been taken down.