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Telford child sex offender, 76, too ill to be jailed

By Rob Smith | Wellington | Crime | Published:

A Telford child sex offender has been discharged, as a court ruled he was too ill to go to prison.

At Shrewsbury Crown Court in October, Morton Hughes, 76, was found to have carried out historic indecent assaults on two children.

He was sentenced yesterday in his absence.

The court heard that Hughes, formerly from Wellington, is in hospital with Parkinson’s disease and other degenerative conditions, and was unfit to go to prison.

Judge Anthony Lowe assessed his options for sentencing the pensioner and found an absolute discharge to be the only sentence he could legally impose.

The offences, which happened between 1975 and 1981, included indecent assaults on a boy and a girl, gross indecency on a boy and inciting a girl to commit an act of gross indecency.

The Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964 sets out circumstances where a court is restricted in its sentencing powers because of an offender’s disability.

Condition

The Act says that in such a case judges have three options: a hospital order, a supervision order or an absolute discharge.

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As Hughes is already undergoing hospital treatment and would be unable to interact with a supervision order, Judge Lowe said an absolute discharge was the only option that remained.

He said: “I am satisfied that he is unfit to plead, unfit to stand trial and there is unlikely to be any improvement in his condition.

“I accept I can’t send him to prison and I also can’t impose a suspended sentence.

“The only sentence I can properly impose is an absolute discharge.

“He has gained from the fact that these matters came to light many, many years after they happened.

“I hope that his victims understand that the court has effectively been overtaken by events in this case.”

Rob Smith

By Rob Smith
Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based at Ketley in Telford.

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