The of Appeal has reduced Pahalagama Somaratana’s total sentence by one year.
The Judges said; “These were serious incidents of indecent assault. A Buddhist monk in his 30s, holding a significant position of trust, abused a 9-year old girl in a cruel and intimidating way. What occurred was frightening, painful and it has had a profound and long-lasting effect on the victim; she has lived with the consequences of the appellant’s actions for the last 30 years. The appellant gravely abused the considerable trust and confidence that this community placed in him. He frightened V and secured her silence, and to a very real extent he contributed to the late reporting of these offences. Having scared V at the outset, she has later had to deal with a strong sense of shame and embarrassment.
On the overall length of sentence the courts concluded that: these offences occurred a substantial period of time ago; the appellant has not offended since then; he is now in his mid 60s; and he has undoubtedly been a significant and positive figure in other respects in his community. Whilst consecutive sentences were clearly appropriate resulting in a sentence that exceeded the statutory maximum for a single offence, we consider the overall length was somewhat excessive. We do not accept that this should have been a four-year sentence, but instead, bearing in mind the factors set out above, we are prepared to reduce the consecutive sentence on count 5 to three years making a total sentence of 6 years.