Child psychiatrist’s sentence cannot be reviewed over ‘leniency’
By Jason Lewis
UK Psych Adrian Marsden
THE sentence of a child psychiatrist who was found in possession of more than 2,000 indecent images of children was referred to the Attorney General over the suggestion it was too lenient.
Doctor Adrian Marsden, 60, avoided jail at Poole Magistrates’ Court last month after pleading guilty to charges of making indecent photos of children and possessing prohibited images of children.
Marsden, of Brownsea Road, Poole, was fined £2,500 and given five year Sexual Harm Prevention Order. He was also given an 18 month community order and told to pay £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.
The sentence was put forward to the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) for review, however, it was not taken further as the unduly lenient sentence scheme does not include magistrates’ court cases.
The court heard how police found 1,982 Category C images and 42 more serious prohibited images showing ‘corporal punishment’ of children on his computer which were stockpiled between May 2010 and January 2020.
At present only certain crown court sentences can be referred to the AGO, including murder, rape and robbery.
As reported, Marsden, who worked as an adolescent mental health psychiatrist at Pebble Lodge treatment centre in Westbourne, had pornographic pictures of children as young as eight years old.
His 10-year fetish was exposed at an amateur dramatics evening when he asked a fellow performer for help downloading an app on to his phone for ‘learning his lines’.
She was horrified to discover a thumbnail to an indecent image of a child on his device and later confronted him about it.
She then reported Marsden, a married father-of-two, to the police and he was arrested at his place of work the next day.
During the hearing in which Marsden was sentenced, Jason Spelman, prosecuting, said the defendant had told the woman he had a “fetish and had hundreds of images which he was ashamed of and he wanted to get help but if he told his work he would get the sack”.
Mitigating, David Hurley said that Marsden had never ‘breached trust’ by acting on his urges with any of his vulnerable patients.
In sentencing judge Stephen Nicholls said: “The defendant occupied a position where members of the public would expect a professional to be trusted and if they knew his background it would undoubtedly have been concerning to them.
“You have lost your good character and your professional reputation.”
After the hearing, Dorset HealthCare Trust said Marsden no longer worked for the organisation and stressed there was no evidence that any of the offences involved or were connected with any their patients.
The trust has a dedicated phone number – 01305 363075 – for people who wish to discuss any concerns they have or access support.