The conductor of world-class symphony orchestras has been sentenced to 24 years in jail for historical sex crimes.
A court heard that the victim had suffered abuse at the hands of British-born Jonathan Grieves-Smith, 57, from the time she was five years old.
Grieves-Smith was sentenced on May 19 after he was convicted in March on 16 counts of sex offenses including rape, buggery, indecent assault and gross indecency dating back to the late ’80s and early ’90s.
His Abuse ‘Cast a Terrible Shadow’ Over His Victim’s Reality & Led Her Into a ‘Spiral of Despair’
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the victim testified Grieves-Smith’s crimes had “cast a terrible shadow over (her) reality” and kept her “in a cage of self-destruction.”
“The life I had to survive while I grew up in silence was not happy, I did not feel like other children. I felt dirty and had to keep secrets.
“I hope Grieves-Smith will never have the chance to hurt or ruin the lives of other trusting children and their families through his manipulative and evil ways.”
Sentencing Grieves-Smith at Hove Crown Court in England, Judge Paul Tain said, “while many people speak highly of you … the experience in these courts is that a lot of people of seemingly good character harbor secrets that their family and friends aren’t aware of. To anyone taken in by your claims that you are in fact innocent, they could be wrong.”
He claimed that Grieves-Smith’s “targeting, grooming, threats and blackmail” had led the victim “into a spiral of despair.”
Fired From His Job When Allegations Came to Light, He Continued to Work With Orchestras Worldwide
Grieves-Smith performed in conducting posts around the world, including the U.K., Europe, the U.S. and New Zealand. Some of the orchestras he worked for included the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, BBC Singers and London Mozart Players.
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Grieves-Smith had been living in Melbourne, Australia, since 1998. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, his employment was severed with Trinity College in Australia when warden and former professor Ken Hinchcliff first learned of the charges against him in 2015. Despite this, Grieves-Smith continued to perform around the country.
He was extradited to the U.K. in July 2019 after a warrant for his arrest was issued at Brighton Magistrates Court. He will serve his prison sentence in Britain.
Detective Constable Lisa Wells, from the East Sussex Safeguarding Investigation Unit, said the victim’s evidence had helped ensure Grieves-Smith’s conviction after she had wrestled with her secret for more than 20 years.
“She has suffered with the trauma and distress of what happened to her, in secret, and it was not for more than a further 20 years that she felt strong enough to get back in touch and share her experiences with us.”
The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in Australia released a statement following the conviction, claiming they were “shocked to learn of historic sexual abuse allegations” against Grieves-Smith.
The statement said the MSO had contacted ex-chorus members and groups known to have worked with Grieves-Smith, offering assistance, but at this stage had not received any complaints of misconduct.
MSO Managing Director Sophie Galaise said she “offered the Orchestra’s heartfelt sympathy to the victim and her family.”
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