Steven Joyce - sentence doubled


Steven Joyce of Erme Drive, Ivybridge, Devon, was convicted in May this year for the indecent assault of male persons who were in his care at a Devon Boarding School during the 1980s.

Following a court of appeal after lawyers for the Solicitor General, Robert Buckland QC, called for a much tougher sentence, at the Appeal Court in London on Friday 15th September, Joyce’s sentence was doubled to 14 years and four months, after Lord Justice Davis ruled that the sentence was "far, far too low."

Lord Justice Davis, sitting with Mr Justice Stuart-Smith and Mr Justice Soole, took account of Joyce's age and poor health; however he ruled: "With all due respect to the judge, we have no doubt at all that this sentence was unduly lenient."

CPS South West District Crown prosecutor Allie Longhorn said: "Stephen Joyce systematically abused young boys over a considerable length of time. Those boys, as pupils of the boarding school at which Joyce was employed as a ‘house parent’, were in his care, and Joyce breached the trust that was placed in him in the most heinous way by repeatedly committing such serious sexual offences against them.

"Joyce’s conduct had a significant and lasting impact on the victims, who showed tremendous courage by reporting the abuse to the police and supporting a prosecution. The strength of their evidence resulted in Joyce entering guilty pleas on the first day of trial and convictions were secured.

"However we took the view that the initial sentence he had been given did not reflect the seriousness of the offences he had committed, particularly given the number of victims, the substantial breach of trust involved, and the late guilty plea. We therefore referred the sentence to the Attorney General’s Office to be considered as an unduly lenient sentence.

The case was then referred to the Court of Appeal and the sentence was doubled, to 14 years and 4 months' imprisonment. We welcome this decision, which properly reflects the gravity of the offences committed. The CPS is committed to successfully prosecuting these cases and will continue to work closely with the police to bring before the courts offenders who sexually abuse children, no matter how old the offences are, where there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to do so."