Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED July 30, 2003

The custodial sentences passed on defendants involved in an assault were appropriate given the level of violence.Appeal with leave of the single judge, against total sentences of 12 months in a Young Offender's Institution, 9 months imprisonment and 15 months imprisonment respectively, following pleas of guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm by all three defendants and also to affray by Younis, imposed on 9 June 2003 at Bradford Crown Court by HH Judge Gullick. Five co-accused also pleaded guilty and faced sentences ranging from 9 months in a Young Offender's Institution to community punishment orders. On 7 July 2001 the Anti-Nazi League arranged a demonstration against groups of right wing organisations who marched through Bradford that day. At the end of the demonstration, which passed largely peacefully, there were large scale disturbances leading to a riot in the evening. Prior to the riot a white youth was surrounded by a group of Asians, including the defendants, who punched and kicked him. He ran away but was chased and brought to the ground and kicked on his head and body. The incident was filmed and that video film was watched by the judge. When sentencing, the judge commented that whilst the white youth was perceived to be associated with the right wing youths, it could not excuse the behaviour of the defendants. Living in a democratic society meant there may be encounters with people whose views were not shared, however, civilised members of society would not act the way the defendants had. The defendants appealed sentence and contended that whilst the custody threshold had been passed, non-custodial sentences should have been passed given the pleas of guilty, their previous good characters and the disparity with sentences passed on co-accused.HELD: (1) The judge recommended that anyone likely to review sentences passed on the defendants should see the video which the present court had seen. It was an unpleasant incident with considerable violence, although the court was conscious of the events that had occurred. (2) The judge considered a number of cases and it was plain from the detailed judgment that he approached the sentencing task with great care and assessed each defendant on an individual basis. The custodial sentences no doubt caused considerable suffering for the defendants and their families. However, it was quite clear that public violence could not be tolerated whatever the provocation. The judge could not be faulted and the sentences passed were appropriate.Appeals dismissed..

[2003] EWCA Crim 2535