Charlie Elphicke: Ex-MP loses sex assaults prison sentence appeal

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Charlie Elphicke was suspended by the Conservatives when "serious allegations" were passed to police

Ex-Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke has lost his appeal against a two-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting two women nine years apart.

Elphicke, 49, the former Dover MP, was convicted in July of groping the women.

At the Court of Appeal his lawyers argued his sentence should have been suspended.

Lady Justice Carr said Elphicke had been "prepared to repeatedly exploit his position of power and trust in order to pursue his sexual desires".

She added: "He preyed on those in a weaker position than himself, using his success and respectability as a cover.

"He used his power in order to create conditions in which he believed he could act on his sexual desires without fear of consequence."

His barrister, Rachna Gokani, had argued Elphicke had suffered "the loss of his career, his marriage and his good character".

'Appropriate punishment'

Sentencing the former MP in September at Southwark Crown Court, Mrs Justice Whipple told Elphicke: "You're a sexual predator who used your success and respectability as a cover."

Mrs Justice Whipple said she had "considered carefully" whether the sentence should be suspended.

"[But] bearing in mind the gross breach of your position of power... I am satisfied that appropriate punishment can only be achieved by immediate custody," she said.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Charlie Elphicke's wife Natalie, the MP for Dover, supported him during the trial

Elphicke was suspended by the Conservatives when "serious allegations" were passed to police in November 2017, but the whip was restored ahead of a confidence vote against then-Prime Minister Theresa May in 2018.

He was again suspended after being charged with the three counts of sexual assault in July 2019.

Natalie Elphicke, the current Conservative MP for Dover, ended the couple's 25-year marriage after his conviction.

Elphicke had previously said he would appeal against the conviction, adding that he was "innocent of any criminal wrongdoing".

However, it was not made clear during Wednesday's hearing whether he still intends to pursue that.

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