Lawyer for Kenyan victims of British abuser Simon Harris calls a reduction in his sentence, for charitable work, 'extraordinary'.
Lawyer for Kenyan victims of British abuser attacks sentence reduction The lawyer representing the victims of a British man who sexually abused them whilst working as the head of a charity in Kenya has called the decision to reduce his sentence ‘extraordinary’.
Simon Harris abused Kenyan street children in the town of Gilgil whilst head of the charity VAE, which placed volunteers in Kenyan schools.
He was sentenced to 17 years and four months in February this year for eight counts of indecent and sexual assault after the jury at his trial heard how he had preyed on "very small children who have no families, nobody to look after them... sheltering in doorways" with the promise of food and shelter.
The abuse came to light after evidence was passed on by a Channel 4 documentary team making a film about the plight of Gilgil's street children.
This sentence has now been reduced to 15 years by the Court of Appeal after his legal team appealed against the length of the sentence, claiming it was too harsh and failed to reflect the good charitable work done by Harris.
Mr Justice Cooke, sitting with Lord Justice Simon and Sir John Royce, agreed there was "some force in these submissions”.
"Notwithstanding the breach of trust and the vulnerability of his victims the overall period was excessive", he ruled.
Harris's total sentence was cut to 15 years; of which he will serve half before qualifying for release on license.
Rebekah Read from the international abuse team at Leigh Day, said: “We are sure our clients will find this judgment extraordinary.
"We contend that the reason why Harris began this charitable work was to gain access to children in order to abuse them.
"As Savile showed, the use of charities as subterfuge by paedophiles is not unknown and this judgment gives out a very poor message to society about the motives of men like Harris who hide behind virtuous acts to commit horrendous crimes."