Scout leader who abused boys must now serve 13 years


An 11-year jail sentence imposed on a former scout leader who subjected five boys to systematic sexual abuse was unduly lenient, the Court of Appeal ruled yesterday.

Senior judges ordered Colin Finnegan to serve an extra two years in prison for his “campaign of violence and corruption”.

Finnegan, 44, formerly of Sloan Hill Mews, Lurgan, was convicted last year of a total of 58 sex offences. The charges, stretching back to the early 1980s, covered a 14-year period, beginning when he was himself a youth.

He used his position within the Bessbrook unit of the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland to befriend and then molest his victims. Finnegan was found to have preyed on four boys and used them for his own sexual gratification. A fifth victim remains unknown.

Northern Ireland’s Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory QC mounted an appeal against the sentence imposed, arguing that the trial judge had been too lenient.

Declaring the original prison term unduly lenient, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, sitting with Lord Justice Girvan and Mr Justice Weatherup, confirmed the sentence was being altered so that Finnegan will now serve 13 years in jail.