A RAPIST and a drug dealer from south Essex have been handed longer sentences after judges were unduly lenient.

The Attorney General’s office increased the sentences of 99 offenders after they were challenged by Attorney General and the Solicitor General because they felt they were unduly lenient in 2018.

Southend Standard:

Jailed - James Brooks, 24, was initially handed an 18-month suspended sentence last July after police uncovered a drug farm in a secret room in his home

Among them was Basildon rapist Brian Gillard and Southend drug dealer James Brooks.

Brian Gillard, formerly of Basildon, carried out historic vile sex attacks on a four-year-old girl and physically and mentally abused a boy.

Last year, the 75-year-old, who now lives in Cornwall, was sentenced to 15 years in jail with a year long extended licence but his sentence was extended to 18-and-a-half years.

The new figures show 23 people were imprisoned after initially avoiding jail time at their original sentencing.

This included James Brooks, 24, who was initially handed an 18-month suspended sentence last July after police uncovered a drug farm in a secret room in his home.

But this was quashed at the Appeal Court after the Attorney General called for a tougher sentence.

Brooks, of Rochford Road, Southend, is now serving two years and eight months in prison.

The Solicitor General, Lucy Frazer QC MP, said: “The unduly lenient sentence scheme allows prosecutors, victims of crime, their family and the public to ask for a review of certain sentences they believe to be too low.

“Only one application is required for a case to be considered and it is important for us to receive this as early as possible in order to properly consider a case before the 28-day deadline.

“A sentencing exercise is not an exact science and in the vast majority of cases, judges get it right.

“The scheme is available to ensure that the Court of Appeal can review cases where there may have been a gross error in the sentencing decision.”