Judge’s EU concern after 13-month delay in sentencing Rotherham child abuse brothers

Pictured in his chambers at Sheffield Crown Court is His Honour Judge Peter Kelson QC.
Pictured in his chambers at Sheffield Crown Court is His Honour Judge Peter Kelson QC.
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Two Slovakian brothers convicted of sickening sexual attacks on young children in Rotherham were sentenced more than a year after their trial due to difficulties in finding out their previous offences.

Eduard and Ludovit Peticky were finally sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday after being found guilty of a string of sexual offences by a jury in July 2014.

It followed extensive work by the police and prosecution with Slovakian authorities to establish details of the pair’s past offending in their home country – which included a rape by Eduard Peticky in the 1980s, as well as sexual abuse and robbery offences.

His brother Ludovit had previous convictions for theft.

The information eventually provided played a key role in Judge Peter Kelson QC being able to give Eduard Peticky a life sentence as his past sexual offending was taken into consideration.

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Judge Kelson praised the level of information that was eventually collected.

But he said the case showed the need for improvements in providing courts with details about the previous convictions of EU nationals involved in criminal proceedings in the UK.

He said it had been good to ‘learn in such detail’ about the nature of their previous convictions, but added it had taken more than a year after the trial ended for it to be confirmed.

He asked prosector Geraldine Kelly to try to ensure his concerns were passed on to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders.

During sentencing, Judge Kelson said the prosecution and police had ‘acted with the utmost urgency in trying to obtain the relevant information’.

He said: “It is now 13 months on and they have finally succeeded.

“It is an inevitable consequence of freedom of movement but somehow something must be done to improve the obtaining of criminal records and proof of them for criminal proceedings.”

Judge Kelson said while details about convictions in different countries had to be treated with ‘great caution’, the detailed information provided to assist with sentencing was ‘extremely helpful’.

He said the material from Slovakia had helped him with forming a view that ‘there is a significant risk of serious harm from Eduard Peticky’ to the public.