Sex assaults sentence doubled for British broadcaster Hall

LONDON (AFP) - Britain's Court of Appeal on Friday doubled the jail sentence handed to veteran broadcaster Stuart Hall, saying his original 15-month term for indecently assaulting young girls was inadequate.

The 83-year-old, who presented the hit BBC television show It's a Knockout in the 1970s and 1980s and later became a well-known radio football commentator, has been described by prosecutors as an "opportunistic predator".

He was jailed last month after admitting to 14 charges of indecently assaulting girls as young as nine between 1967 and 1987, when he regularly appeared on British television.

The abuse surfaced following revelations that late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile, one of the best-known faces in British entertainment from the 1960s until the 1990s, was a serial child sex offender.

The attorney general, Dominic Grieve, had referred Hall's original 15-month jail term to the Court of Appeal, claiming it was "unduly lenient".

On Friday, three judges sitting at the court in London ruled that Hall's term should be increased to 30 months.

The former broadcaster kept his head bowed as he listened to proceedings via videolink from jail in Preston, in northwest England, where he has begun serving his sentence.

The attorney general welcomed the ruling, adding: "I hope that this case has highlighted the fact that historical sexual offences are always taken very seriously and show that the law still applies, whoever the offender may be."