Introduction and Facts
Adam Johnson, the Sunderland and England footballer was arrested on 2nd March 2015 and later charged with three offences of sexual activity with a girl under 16 (contrary to s9 Sexual Offences Act 2003) and one count of grooming (contrary to s15 Sexual Offences Act 2003).
At the start of his trial (on 10th February 2016) he pleaded guilty to one of the allegations of sexual activity and the grooming charge.
He stood his trial on the remaining two counts and the jury gave their verdicts on 2nd March 2016.
There were three different ‘sex acts’ (seemingly standard journalist speak unfortunately) charged in three different allegations –
kissing the girl – Guilty plea at the start of the trial
oral sex – Not Guilty
sexual touching – Guilty, by a majority of 10-2.
Grooming – Guilty plea at the start of the trial
Mr Johnson has been bailed until the date of sentence (absolutely standard, in case you were wondering).
What will the sentence be?
The sentence will be governed by the Sentencing Guidelines for Sexual Offences :
Sexual Activity with a child (p45) – here we think that this will be Category 2 on the Count on which he was convicted (as always, it is very difficult to get the actual facts) in terms of Harm.
It will probably be Culpability A for both, because of the grooming and the abuse of trust.
This gives a starting point of 3 years with a range of 2-6 years.
Grooming (p63) – Again there is a breach of trust, which is enough to put it as higher Culpability. We don’t know enough to be sure, but it looks like it should be lower (non-raised) harm.
This has a starting point of 2 years, with a range of 1-4 years.
But the Judge is reported as saying that “his preliminary view was that the case falls into the category of a five-year prison sentence with a range of four to 10 years”.
This would indicate that it is a Cat 1A offence for the Sexual Activity. This means that there would have been penetration of the vagina or anus by any part of the body or object, or penile penetration of the mouth.
We know that the Count of which he was acquitted related to oral sex, but he obviously won’t be sentenced for that. So it may be that the other Count involved some form of penetration.
It is likely that there will be shorter, concurrent, sentences on the other two offences in the circumstances.