Rutherglen MSP calls for review of sentencing policy following Mortimer case
Nov 21 2012
by Will Henshaw, Rutherglen Reformer
Rutherglen MSP James Kelly has called on the Scottish government to review sentencing policy following a cut in the jail sentence for paedophile Alexander Mortimer.
Mortimer, who worked in a local nursery, admitted sexually assaulting two young boys and amassed a computer library containing 17,967 indecent photographs and 582 videos of children. Passing sentence in July, Lady Stacey spoke of Mortimer befriending a woman so he could abuse her children. She called it a gross “breach of trust”. She also described the indecent pictures Mortimer had taken of young children as “vile”.
However, at a recent appeal, lawyers for Mortimer argued that he had not been given a large enough reduction in his prison term following his early guilty plea. And his sentence was reduced from eight years to five years and 11 months.
It means that Mortimer could be eligible for parole after two and a half years from the date he was first detained in custody in early February this year.
The local MSP took the first available opportunity to raise the issue on the floor of the Scottish Parliament, with Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.
James Kelly MSP said: “This was a shocking case which caused huge distress throughout the community, and I was very stunned to learn that Mortimer had his sentence reduced.
“In the Scottish Parliament this week I relayed the concerns of my constituents to the Scottish Government, and I hope a commitment can be made to review sentencing guidelines in the future to take proper account of the feelings of victims in cases as horrific as this.”
The Rutherglen MSP has also written to Cashcade, the company behind bingo websites which displayed pictures of Mortimer- in some cases with children – after his arrest. The pictures were on a forum section of the site. The images were eventually removed after pressure from the MSP and the Reformer, but Kelly has noted no replies to two previous letters, and no apologies to the local community.
In his letter, Kelly tells Cashcade director Patrick Southon: “This was a case which caused great shock and concern in the Rutherglen area, and people were stunned and quite frankly disgusted that the images of Mortimer remained visible for so long after his arrest, charge and conviction. Oversights can happen but in a situation such as this people deserve to see organisations take responsibility for actions and mistakes.
“Unfortunately, people in Rutherglen have not seen Cashcade do this, despite the original concerns being raised over five months ago.”