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Judge slams delays in case of Exeter teenager who sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: March 05, 2014

Exeter Crown Court

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A teenager who sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl has been told he will not face an immediate jail sentence as a Judge criticised the delay in bringing the case to court.

Benjamin Hole was just 17 when he assaulted the schoolgirl but had had to wait almost two years for his case to be dealt with at Exeter Crown Court.

He was originally charged with rape but admitted the lesser offence of sexual assault on what was due to be the first day of his trial.

Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, the Recorder of the City of Exeter and resident judge, criticised the 21 months the case has taken to come to court.

He said he was not considering an immediate jail sentence because of the stress which the defendant, the victim and their families have suffered in waiting for justice.

Benjamin Hole, aged 19, of Woodwater Lane, Exeter, denied rape but admitted sexual assault by penetration and his sentence was adjourned for reports.

Judge Gilbert said:”This offence took place on May 2, 2012 and the case should have been before the court in the autumn of that year.

“The first complaint was made that night and the defendant interviewed the next day. It was not until four months later that a statement was taken from the girl’s mother. That should have been done straight away.

“The summons was not issued until April 2013 and the first hearing was in June 2013. This has put a great strain on the complainant and her family and the defendant and his family and for that reason I am not contemplating custody.”

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