A 36-year-old visiting rugby player has been unsuccessful in reducing a prison sentence for sexual assault and assault after the appeal case was handed back to the Magistrate’s Court by the Bailiff – but the man immediately re-appealed, and it will again be heard in the Royal Court within weeks.
Matthew McLean, a visiting semi-professional rugby player from Sussex, had denied the charges last year, but was convicted of sexual assault and common assault following a trial in September.
McLean has been thrice unsuccessful in appealing his sexual assault conviction, which was upheld by the Bailiff, a single judge of the Court of Appeal, and the full Court of Appeal, but has separately been appealing his five-month prison sentence on the grounds its manifestly excessive and discriminatory given his UK residency.
His Advocate Clare Tee yesterday raised with the Royal Court that McLean could undertake community service in the UK if the relevant appropriate authority agrees to supervise it, claiming this was not fully considered by the original judge last year.
The Bailiff, Sir Richard McMahon, said the Royal Court was not able to deliberate on Magistrate’s-level sentencing options, and remitted the case back to that court based on the new probation information provided by the defence.
He added that he was unlikely to conclude that McLean had been discriminated against because of his UK residency, however.
But just hours later when resentencing McLean, Magistrate Judge Gary Perry - who presided over McLean’s trial and original sentencing hearing - said nothing had changed as to the seriousness of the offences and that he had not ignored the possibility of alternative sentences.
Since probation were still not recommending that McLean undertake community service despite arrangements being possible, he reaffirmed the original sentences for sexual assault and assault.
Pictured: McLean reappeared in the Magistrate's Court just hours after his appeal was considered by the Royal Court.
Judge Perry said local judges are especially cognisant of local issues, with their “fingers on the pulse” of local crime trends, and so the “much wider context” is factored into the offending behaviour.
Instances of women being groped on nights out are being seen “depressingly frequently”, Judge Perry said, adding that a “large element of deterrence” is required.
He added that a longer custodial sentence could’ve been justified.
Suspended sentences and community service orders issued by Guernsey courts cannot be enforced in other jurisdictions if they are breached.
McLean immediately appealed the fresh sentences and was granted bail on the same conditions as before; to reside at his UK address and to post a £7,000 bond with the sheriff.
The Royal Court will again consider the appeal on the afternoon of 21 September.