THAT the sentence of child molester Jade Hatt is to be reviewed by order of the Attorney General is something to be welcomed.

We make no apology for describing Hatt as a child molester, as she is precisely that.

Had an adult man had sexual intercourse with an 11-year-old child, he would at the very least have been described in similar terms.

There is absolutely no excuse for Hatt’s conduct, although she later attempted to explain her crime by saying she fell in love too easily.

In other words she used a typical molester’s justification - that what happened was a loving act rather than a perverted criminal offence.

That a child sexual offender with such an apparent lack of insight is at large is very worrying. Hatt was given a suspended sentence with supervision, ordered to register for seven years as a sex offender and set free.

It is hardly surprising that the ensuing outrage encompassed not just the country but the wider world. Accounts of the case appeared as far afield as the United States and New Zealand, and also on countless news aggregation sites.

The dangers of leniency in such cases are twofold, in that they give both offenders and victims the impression that such conduct is not regarded as serious under law.

This means offenders are less likely to be deterred from offending and victims are more likely to be deterred from reporting offences.

It is to be hoped that the judges tasked with reconsidering the case impose a sentence which reflects the seriousness of the crime and reassures society that such abominable conduct will not be tolerated.