Neil Challis

Excellent

A primary school teacher who raped a girl from the age of five and took indecent photographs of his pupils has been jailed indefinitely.

Caught, tried and punished for foul crimes.

And yet, yet….what\’s this about "indefinite sentences"? You stay in jail until you\’ve sucked up to hte Governor enough to be released? Until you tick off some boxes on the parole officer\’s list?

I agree that an indefinite sentence isn\’t the same as indefinite detention without trial, but it still all sounds highly illiberal. What\’s the justification for it\’

29 thoughts on “Neil Challis”

  1. I think ‘rape’ is supposed to mean whatever a woman decides it means.

    See the trouble poor Dr Crippen had over on his blog when he decided to delve into the murky world of so-called ‘medical rape’…

  2. I agree that an indefinite sentence isn’t the same as indefinite detention without trial, but it still all sounds highly illiberal. What’s the justification for it

    Indefinite detention does sound illiberal. It is also dangerous as a clever criminal will know how to play the system, and get out earlier that they should do.

    One reason for them (not necessarily a justification, perhaps excuse is a better word) is the lack of both justice and common sense in “normal” sentences. If prolific offenders got an appropriate sentence for each individual crime, all to be served consecutively (rather than the bad joke that is concurrent sentences), then in many cases the criminal would die of old age in prison and indefinite sentences would not be required.

    After his arrest, he admitted six charges of rape and four charges of indecent assault of a child.

    If we say 10 years minimum for each rape, and 5 years for each indecent assault, that alone gives a sentence of 80 years. It’s unlikely he will live to 115, or would be much of a threat to the public if he did. Problem solved. Next case.

  3. I have been a juror in a case of attempted murder. We had a choice of verdicts, this made the jury confused.

    The advice we needed, and eventually got, from the judge was which of the verdicts would lead to the defendant being locked up the longest. because we were certain he would do it again.

    The judge explained to us that indefinite meant he would never be let out.

  4. “The advice we needed, and eventually got, from the judge was which of the verdicts would lead to the defendant being locked up the longest.”

    Predicting future behaviour of a defendant and then determining the sentence is not the job of the jury.

  5. “Predicting future behaviour of a defendant and then determining the sentence is not the job of the jury.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

    However, since the judges and probation service officers have proven so bad at it, I’m not too surprised to see the jury give it a shot…. 🙂

    But all joking aside, the above is criminal in itself.

    “The advice we needed, and eventually got, from the judge was which of the verdicts would lead to the defendant being locked up the longest. “

    I think you got the wrong advice there.

  6. Child sex offenders are in a special class. They are highly refractory to rehabilitation and their recidivism rate is appalling. We should not overlook the prophylactic effect of a very long, or indeed indefinite sentence: while they’re banged up, they’re not raping children. On the whole I agree with ed: concurrent sentences should be scrapped (I’d go further by scrapping time off for good behaviour and automatic sentence reduction). A Hayekian principle of the common law is that for it to be just, individuals must have a very good idea of the tariff they will attract for committing a crime. There still needs to be a certain degree of judicial independence in setting the sentence, but not so much that the baby is thrown out with the bathwater.

  7. Re the original post, this is one where the government’s new laws (indeterminate sentences for a wide range of offences from very serious to quite minor) makes an existing law look strange. Rape already carried a maximum life sentence before indeterminant sentences were introduced, and the victim being five years old while the attacker was an adult in a position of authority would have been easily enough to attract a life sentence under the old laws.

    @ S2 – how the hell can you class the rape of a child as worse than murder? Very simple experiment: ask anyone who was raped as a child whether they’d rather be dead. Note: when they punch you in the nose for asking such a stupid question, this counts as a “no”.

    @ DG – AIUI the refractory-to-treatment point is a bit of a Sun-myth (you can’t stop paedos being paedos, but there are plenty of programmes that – when they’re not being randomly axed out of craven tabloid pressure – have quite positive effects on whether or not they commit abuse). And recidivism isn’t much different between child abusers and other ex-cons, although that’s still fairly high for both groups.

  8. > how the hell can you class the rape of a child as worse than murder?

    Since we’re talking about prison sentences and the point of locking people up is largely based on likeliness to reoffend, I was primarily considering that context. Fact is, most murderers have a motive beyond mere opportunity — in their eyes, their victims do something to provoke their death. Children don’t, ever. The only reason to rape a child is that you view them as usefully powerless objects to be used however you see fit for your own purposes. As far as I’m concerned, someone who thinks about other humans that way is a lot more dangerous to the rest of us than, say, a man who killed his friend in an argument over an extramarital affair, or a criminal who killed another criminal in a gang fight. Their view of the human race is more like that of a serial killer than a mere murderer, and it is therefore entirely sensible, having discovered one of them, to lock them up forever.

    Thinking about it a bit more, I think I’d say, not that child-rape is worse than murder, but that child-rapists are worse than murderers. But, like I said, when you’re talking about sentencing, that’s the salient point.

    > Very simple experiment: ask anyone who was raped as a child whether they’d rather be dead.

    Actually, that’s a very tricky experiment, as, to get a representative sample, I would need to come up with some way of asking, as well as the living victims, those who have gone on to commit suicide.

    Moreover, you are implying that our judgment of how bad a crime is should be based on how the victims feel about it. Presumably, you’ll shortly be advocating that the sentencing of minor drug dealers be based on the views of the parents of some girl who took too much E.

    If all you’re going to consider in the evaluation of crime is the victims’ feelings, then you may as well forego prison and simply legalise revenge. The very existence of a criminal justice system says that we should consider more than that.

    You could as well ask someone whether they’d rather have their car stolen or their cat killed. What the hell would their answer tell us about approriate sentencing for either? But the fact that cruelty to animals is a well documented indicator of psychopathy and car theft isn’t, that’s a lot more useful.

  9. “Child sex offenders are in a special class.”

    Indeed. A class so special that all rational and intelligent discussion goes out of the window. A “child sex offender” now includes (for example) those accepting a caution for possession of a photograph of 17 year old in an alluring pose.

  10. The only reason to rape a child is that you view them as usefully powerless objects to be used however you see fit for your own purposes.

    I’m not sure that’s true given the legal definition of ‘raping a child’ (ie any form of sexual contact with someone aged 12 or below), although it does appear to be true for Mr Challis and indeed for the more literal definition of ‘raping a child’ in general.

    At the extreme of the ‘not psychopath’ end, take the case last year where a sheltered geeky 18-year-old boy had an affair with a 12-year-old girl he met online, which she initiated. Wrong, yes; deserves punishment, yes; deserves prison, perhaps; is a psychopath who should never be released, obviously not.

    But yes, in general I see your point – a serial rapist of prepubescent children is acting through worse motives, and is almost certainly more likely to continue doing harm, than someone who’s committed a non-premeditated murder.

  11. > the case last year where a sheltered geeky 18-year-old boy had an affair with a 12-year-old girl

    Well, I’m a literal-minded kind of guy. Unlike our lords & masters, by “raping a child” I mean “raping a child”. There are plenty of people who fall within the legal definition but to whom my comments refarding psychopathy clearly don’t apply.

    > Isn’t that known as manslaughter?

    No, manslaughter is when you don’t intend to kill. You can non-premeditatedly yet deliberately kill someone, in which case it’s murder. Course, it’s a type of murder for which our courts often pass a manslaughter conviction, but that’s just a sentence-lowering device.

  12. So Much For Subtlety

    I think an indeterminate sentence is the way that Leftists do Life Without Parole.

    Except everyone knows only American Red Necks support that. And it is cruel to deny someone the chance of getting out. So instead they invent a new term that basically covers an old concept (like Life meaning Life unless you are actually *really* *really* sorry and not just let out routinely as with parole these days). It is an exercise in marketing.

    What ought to be worrying is the number of Common Law jurisdictions that have invented a new concept – those “too dangerous to be let out” so even though they finish their sentences they can now be held indefinitely at the order of a Minister without wasting time in Court. It is now common in Australia, for instance, to do so.

  13. @ SMFS, no that’s not what it means at all. It’s more like the Australian example you give – “you will serve a minimum of four years and will only be released after that if you don’t appear to be a threat”.

  14. For those of you judging this situation without knowing who the man is they’re talking about; i went to the summer camp where neil challis worked and lived alongside him during the summer for six years. I always felt there was something off about it, and considered him to be the type to be a pedophile but never really believed it would come this. As far as i’m concerned, an indefinite sentence is actually the best way to go with this case. there is a less than 1% chance he will ever be deemed fit for society as sexual offenders are never fully rehabilitated. the famiy is content with the outcome which is what matters. i think people who don’t know what was involved here shouldn’t just. i was one of 2oo girls and 100 staff members who trusted neil only to find out he was stealing our underwear. i can’t even begin to imagine what the girl went through. if you don’t know the players involved, mind your business and don’t make jugements.

  15. what good are crb checks if things like this animal can get through the net? and he did.

    I think anyone working with chidren now should be subjected to the most sophisticated and current methods of lie detection, unannounced checks, including computerised ones.

    It is time for total transparency for those who work with vunerable and young people, in every aspect of their lives.

  16. I knew this guy as a kid . Neil was a charismatic character but also a narcissistic ego -maniac with severe grandiosity or bullshitting tendencies which were obviously there to make up for his inadequacies.
    This after much time pushed other kids away (including me )from him and i think he never really adapted to adult life from his mid teens. His father was reported to be over friendly with many children locally who holidayed with Neil and him his mother never present on these trips , so nurture/ learnt behaviour may be a precipitating factor. Events like these will never be stopped no matter what rigorous red tape is in place. Just recently a nursery nurse has done the same.

  17. neil challis was my teacher in 2007 at chellaston junior school now im year 7. Me and my friends new something was going on when we met him the sick man!.

  18. You know that this idiot was in my school! I’m am now in year 8 and I remember when I was in year 3, I used to see him and my friend had him as a teacher. She even said that he had his phone jetting out on the camera side when they were changing for PE! I really just don’t understand why someone wants to do such a horrible thing to someone else even though they haven’t done anything bad to him. I’m just glad that he didn’t teach at my class or it would just ruin my life. I’m glad he’s rotting behind bars because he deserves it!

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