THE sentencing of a Powys man who admitted four child sex offences has been delayed after a judge ordered a psychiatric report to be prepared.

Robert Owen had been due to be sentenced today (June 23) but Judge Nicola Saffman, sitting at Mold Crown Court, said she could not sentence the 51-year-old due to “significant references” within a pre-sentence report that noted Owen might have a learning disability.

Owen, of Fir Court Avenue, Churchstoke, had previously admitted four offences; they include two counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, attempt/arrange or facilitate the commission of a child sex offence and attempt/cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity. The offences took place between June 23 and August 15, 2020.

Dafydd Roberts, representing Owen, described the charges as “serious offences that pass the custody threshold” but made an application to adjourn the case so a further report could be conducted.

“The concern from reading the pre-sentence report is in relation to possible learning disabilities yet to be diagnosed,” he said.

“There doesn’t seem to be any assessment. He does present as a man who does have difficulties. There is no assessment but it is something the court should take into account.

“The application is for sentencing to be adjourned so that a full psychiatric assessment can be prepared.”

Judge Saffman told Owen: “There are significant references within the pre-sentence report to an apparent learning disability so I can’t sentence you without a psychiatric report to ascertain whether there is one and whether it is part of the reasoning for this very serious offending.

“My concern is that the report is made by an experienced probation officer who makes repeated referrals to having a form of learning disability which feeds into your responses about your offending.

“I am obliged to obtain a report to assist in sentencing. There is a string of potential learning disorders woven throughout the report. It has only become apparent at this stage due to the experience of the probation officer, engaging in depth with Mr Owen.

“I need a further report to ascertain if there is a learning disability and to assist with sentence.”

Judge Saffman adjourned the case. Owen will return to Mold for sentencing on August 25.