Northern Ireland

Sex offender Patrick Carton's sentence reduced

Patrick James Carton walking into court Image copyright Pacemaker

A former teacher who was sentenced to 13 years in prison on 29 indecent assault charges has had his sentence reduced by the Court of Appeal.

Patrick James Carton, of Marguerite Close in Newcastle, previously taught at St Colman's College in Newry and De La Salle in Downpatrick.

He retired in 2002 but continued to tutor maths in County Down.

It was from these tutoring sessions that accusations were made by five females and one male.

Carton, who will turn 77 this month, had his sentence reduced to eight-and-a-half years.

Seven-week trial

The accusations covered a time period from 1983 to 2007.

After a seven-week trial at Downpatrick Crown Court last year, Carton was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

On Monday, the Court of Appeal reduced that sentence with Carton's legal team arguing that the initial sentence was "manifestly excessive" in light of the nature of the offences.

These centred on what Carton called the "star system".

This he described as a learning mechanism that saw students smacked on the bottom if they got questions wrong.

Smacking

This began with smacking over clothing but with more incorrect answers progressed to smacking over underwear and then smacking on bare bottoms.

Carton, was also found guilty of touching some of the former students in private areas, trying to make some victims kiss him and touch his crotch area.

In confirming that the sentence had been reduced, Lord Justice Treacy said: "We do that recognising that there are many aggravating features and there is little if any personal mitigation. Thirteen years didn't properly represent the totality principal.

"Our attention has been drawn to the victim impact statements and the impact this has had on young teenage women and a young teenage man.

"That he has a clear record has to be set against the fact that over almost a quarter of a century he assaulted six individuals.

"There were serious breaches of trust. He is unrepentant."

An application for leave to appeal the conviction was rejected at the same hearing.

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