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Attacker who broke gay man’s jaw avoids “richly deserved” prison term

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  1. I’m very surprised that breaking someone’s jaw doesn’t get you locked up. I’m also wondering why the hand problem that prevents him working didn’t prevent him from punching someone in the face?

    1. I am struggling to understand why a hand injury/issue and literacy issues are considered appropriate issues to mitigate against custody …

      Breaking a jaw is clearly GBH, and whilst many people do receive custodial sentences in relation to GBH – it will depend on prior criminal conduct and other appropriate issues …

      The fact the GBH is aggravated by the hate inspired comments, clearly is good cause to look at custody …

      The Bristol Evening Post reported these comments:
      “Mr Nelson [defending] also added that Smith, who has a previous record of antisocial offences, had physical and psychological problems. He is not able to read or write very well, has little education, and is unable to complete manual work due to a congenital defect in his hand.

      He said: “He has a deep sense of frustration when it comes to employment and a low self-esteem which is why, on occasion he drinks to excess and takes substances. He is an extremely vulnerable young man.””

      Custody seems appropriate!

      1. “…. Drinks to excess and takes substances…”

        Expensive habits… just saying.

        I’m more concerned with the victim’s mental health at this point.

        1. Jock S. Trap 14 Nov 2011, 3:04pm


          I am also concerned that drinking to excess and taking substances is somehow seen as valid excuses to give lighter sentences.

          1. That’s not the way it’s been seen by the courts. I think the article may be slightly confusing.

            The alcohol and the drug’s are seen as evidence for his low self /depressionwhich is caused by his literacy and hand problems stopping him from finding work… which has resulted in him taking his frustration out on someone else.

            They were his mitigating factors for his legal defence, which have worked in stopping him from going to prison…. As it’s not in the public interest to send someone with emotional problems such as the above to prison… 1. Costing the tax payer money (both on in-prisonment, and emotional/substance abuse counciling) and 2. putting the spot light on current social problems which the ‘establishment’ don’t want highlighting (if you’re cynical enough :P) and 3. Probably sending another youth down a slippery spiral instead of helping them overcome their issues…

            Personally I say lock him up, but the defence played a good game…

          2. Jock S. Trap 15 Nov 2011, 8:14am

            Trouble is Nathan, you may be right but I have heard too many times in other cases where drink and drugs have been taken into account when they should have never been. Killing someone, attacking someone, raping someone while being drunk or high is not an excuse, it still is a choice and the tragedy is that these events for the victims who have to piece their lives back together, will never leave them, they need no such excuses. None should be taken into account.

    2. You must be cocooned to be surprised, this is the typical ,lenient sentence handed out by british justice for gbh. Actually i was surprised the thug actually got this sentence, as i was expecting something more cushy for the poor victim as the perpetrator of crime is so often seen in this country and lack of empathy for the real victim..

  2. What a vile individual on so many levels. I’ve a feeling he’ll be in prison eventually. There’s only so much sympathy the “I can’t read” excuse will garner when you behave like he does.

  3. So now Smith, the apparently “extremely vulnerable young man” who just happens to have “a previous record of antisocial offences” can go on smacking people in the gob until he gets caught again. I wonder, how many broken jaws and ruined lives = 1 prison sentence?

    1. The next offence of any kind by this 21 yr old, in the next two years, will result in the activation of his custodial sentence. He has been given a chance to change his behaviour with the fear of prison hanging over him.

  4. Jock S. Trap 14 Nov 2011, 2:18pm

    His literacy issues and the problem with his hand that prevents him from working didn’t stop him abusing, violently attacking and breaking his victims jaw so I don’t see why it should spar him jail either.

    This is a disgraceful judgement and one no doubt would had been a different outcome had this been inflicted towards someones race, a woman and/or domestic.

    We can not take seriously claims that violent crime is to be treated as seriously as it should if judges who clearly don’t live in the real world don’t act on sentences and using as a deterant if nothing else.

    Yet again a weak, reality removed judge shows up the weak, pathetic justice system of the UK.

    1. A weak, reality removed judge ? Really? I thougt his comment suggested otherwise. He said: “You made some vile, revolting homophobic remarks which were quite unforgivable. The offence alone clearly crosses the custody threshold.” Clearly, this Judge wanted to send him down and if he appears again before this judge or any other, he will be sent down. The Judge must take into account the defence case; he has no choice and there were mitigating “exceptional” circumstances. We have to acknowledge that we are not privy to all the facts and circumstances relevant to the case; the Judge is. Unless he can be rehabilitated in some way, I have no doubt that this kid will be banged up in due course when he offends again.

      1. Jock S. Trap 15 Nov 2011, 8:19am

        Reality would have been passing down a prison sentence that reflected the crime and told others this intolerance is not be acceptable.

        Like politicans judges can talk the talk but we want to see action not the talk and oh well you can go. He got nothing more than a slap on the wrist while the victim has this horrific attack planted firmly on his memory for the rest of his life.

        Lets face it if as you expect he’ll do this again, as I’m sure most of us expect them what then will we be asking? Why weren’t we protected, prehaps?

  5. he cannot perform manual work but still can punch around what a stupid system get him on a chain gang and gang bang that would improve his speeeeeeeeeeech

  6. The whole point of prison is a punishment, you do not need to be literate or able to do manual work to pay for a crime in fact it may be slightly in his best interest to go to prison as he could get help with his literacy as he serves his term and there must be other prison related work that would be available to him. So if he went he would get his “richly deserved” punishment and even learn something in the process to hopefully make him a better member of society (though I doubt it). Why did Keith get away with this lol

    1. @Dafy

      I empathize with your points, and agree with them … I particularly endorse that prison should be able to assist with literacy etc and may, by paradox, enhance his self-esteem …

      However, officially the point of prison is not to punish … it is to protect the public and rehabilitate HM Prison Service state “Our duty is to look after them with humanity and help them lead law-abiding and useful lives in custody and after release.”. Clearly there is also a protective aspect in terms of very serious or serial offences.

      I think the current Secretary of State for Justice would accept that there is a role in the Prison estate as a punishment/deterrent.

      1. I agree, sorry I considered just the punishment side of it but that may be because I used that awful word “assumed” with connection to that he would be no longer out in the public population. I honestly think he would be better off in prison as it opens up opportunities to better himself (if he took it of course) so although I focused on the punishment side of it the humane side battling his literacy balanced my comment, well I think it did lol. I still think the main aspect of prison should be as punishment/deterrence with the benefit of out of circulation rather than other way round.

        Those I have known who have been to prison have always said in some ways it was better than where they were before with a lot of supported prospects when you get out. Not being there I only have what people have said to go on, and from what they have said I want to commit a crime sometimes just to go to prison, though I wouldn’t I would miss my puppies too much lol

        1. @Dafy

          I agree that in most cases the punishment issue of prison should be foremost in the mind. I do think that when people are detained they should take advantage (and society take advantage) of the opportunity to try and help them better themselves and rehabilitate.

          Having visited many prisons (as paramedic and formerly as a police officer), I have already determined its somewhere I definitely do not want to go for more than a few hours professionally! I am aware of many people who have been supported by prison and felt they (and society) have benefited from it.

        2. Puppies … what sort?

          1. border collie cross and a pure border collie, they are my babies, the pure one is totally insane but is cute with it lol :)

          2. Sweet …

            Used to have a lab … but my ex got custody …. pah!

          3. lol I would never give up my pups, custody battle would ensue lol

  7. Jason Brown 14 Nov 2011, 5:04pm

    What’s reading got to do with attacking people? His hand prevents him from getting a job but he can punch people with it? …Are you kidding? Most jobs don’t require your hand to use enough force to smash things.

    Also why is drinking excessively and taking drugs considered an excuse? That’s just more reasons to lock him up.

  8. Surely the point is that he is STILL at liberty and very likely- due to his problems and attitudes- to attack someone else? Surely th judge should be sentencing with the prime intention of “protecting the public”???

    this sentance defies belief!!!!

  9. I was punched in the face too by some uptight lout. Not only did I have a fractured jaw, but lost two teeth in the process.

    The thug that did it got away with a fine.

  10. What a joke. Surely nothing pleaded in mitigation by the defence in this case was sufficient reason to keep this young thug out of jail. He is clearly a danger to the public and will continue to be.
    The law is too often, as the saying goes, an ass.

  11. If you’re able to roll joints, punch someone so hard you break their jaw, resist arrest by “swinging your arms and legs about,” then you are able to cope with prison. It’s not the victim’s fault that a homophobic idiot decided to get so paraletic he was unable to control himself, and the fact his drunk personality manifested itself as a homophobic violent thug is very telling.

    Disgusting sentence. How can being crap at English and having an obviously-not-very gammy hand get you off prison? And we wonder why people don’t fear the law anymore? Useless. Absolutely useless.

  12. …and judges like Judge Harington let the entire judiciary down when they do things like this. The media quite often get the public riled about soft sentencing, and the judges defend this by saying their hands are tied by sentencing guidelines – which they have to abide by. Fair enough, but what’s their excuse in this case? What he said might as well be translated quite simply as, “You should go to prison, everyone else that committed your crime would go to prison, your victim deserves his attacker to go to prison, but because you’ve had a bit of a hard life – I’m not going to send you to prison.”


    1. David Millar 14 Nov 2011, 10:05pm

      as a gay community guy sitting on a cown prosecution service hate crime scrutiny panel, i understand the anger here. I had a go on local radio about a nasty homophobes suspended sentence…but recently have come to realise the vile damage inflicted on victims by those who refuse to plead guilty, drag the case out with adjournments. etc. What do they then do? Change their plea at the last minute!

      But here he didnt do that and the sentence recognised this. We lock up more of our population than any where in Western europe with huge reoffending rates,so frankly whatever ex `something of the night` Home secretary Michael Howard said about `prison works` it doesnt, and I doubt if it would have changed this guys behaviour either.

      1. The “does prison work?” debate has been going round in circles for the longest time. As a layman (or a laygayman as it were!) I’m afraid I only have one perspective – what would I want in this situation? Victims deserve justice, and after an attack like this it adds insult to injury for the person not to be imprisoned. The victim couldn’t care less if he reoffends, and I’m fairly sure NOT going to prison is just as ineffective as the alternative! At least the latter does some good for the victim’s feeling and helps send out a message to the rest of society.

        As for the fact he didn’t drag this out, so what? Sentences are already made far too lenient for the sake of an apology and confession, now what, they’re being done away with completely?! Rehabiliation as far as I’m concerned is a possible bonus side effect of prison but ultimately the point of criminal law is to punish those who have wronged society. There has been NO punishment here, and it’s wrong, plain and simple.

  13. Cambodia Guesthouse 15 Nov 2011, 1:08am

    @ David Millar Whilst I agree with your points, it also has to be said that part of the prison sentence has to be related to punishment and also as a deterrent to others thinking of committing such vile acts of violence.

    What message did this judge send out to the yobs?

    That’s part of the problem with the UK’s yob culture today.. Too many think it’s okay to contribute nothing to society yet cause most of it’s problems.

    This idiot has a bit of a gammy hand? Obviously not too gammy to punch someone, breaking their jaw… Roll joints and also lift many pints? (paid for by whom I might ask?) US by any chance?

    Lets just say that if I was the poor victim of this yob, I’d be feeling pretty let down by the system today!

    A message should be sent out to other yobs, loud and clear… Go out, get a skinful, commit an act of voilence, made worse by blatant homophobia and you WILL go to prison.. Gammy hand and poor reading skills will NOT be accepted as an ‘excuse’!

  14. GingerlyColors 15 Nov 2011, 6:59am

    Obviously his ‘hand problem’ isn’t so bad that he cannot go round thumping people. In that case he should have his benefits stopped immediately and be made to repay what he has fraudently claimed. As for him not being sent to prison because it is ‘not in the public interest’, it is in our interests that he should be locked up, and it should be under Rule 45 with the real sex offenders!

  15. Yet a man who burned a koran was given a custodial sentence. It’s perfectly clear that the courts think gay people’s lives matter less than a replaceable book.

    1. I start from a viewpoint that the sentence in the case of the assault discussed here is clearly far too lenient …

      That said, in order to make a judgement about the criminal justice system it is important not to judge it on one or two cases in isolation.

      Dealing with the two cases you mention. The penalty for the assault appears too lenient. We do not know if the penalty for the burning of the Koran was excessive, appropriate or lenient as we know nothing of the prior convictions, additional aggravating factors (although both incidents are clearly hate crimes) or the mitigation put forward in the Koran incident.

      We need to consider both a wide range of incidents, perceptions of victims and the wider public and have an understanding of the reasons the sentencing decisions were made.

      My gut feeling is that sometimes homophobic cases are not treated with the seriousness they merit compared to other hate crimes – but that is a perception and not necessarily the reality.

  16. Stuart Browning 15 Nov 2011, 2:10pm

    This is all good new, the pendulum is indeed swinging back at the gay community, its high time they realised they are not the be all and end all of this world, giving how they behave.

    1. Shut up Stuart your not wanted, needed or even welcome here.

      We’ve just got one homophobe kicked off here and we will do the same to you if you keep posting such offensive rubbish.

      If you want to talk about how much you hate gay people why don’t you go on the daily mail comments page or even make your own I’ve even got a name for you “ignorant times” quite catchy I think

      1. Jock S. Trap 16 Nov 2011, 4:01pm

        Sadly Hamish I think it’s still that one loony, he just can’t stop hanging around us, trying to gain attention with his comments that aren’t even his opinions..

        Sad isn’t it. Guess he must be very lonely….

    2. @Stuart (or is it Keith)

      I have passed on your comments regarding something going to happen to the signs in Stanley Street, Liverpool to a contact who works for Merseyside Police and they are going to ensure appropriate attention is paid to the area.

      The rest of your comments, are risible and not worthy of giving them any comment ….

    3. charming, thanks for your kind words…knob

  17. believe it…it was my jaw! i really appreciate the kind thoughts that some f you have expre4ssed…i’d like to add that the police conduct is what should also be taken into account here…i was not told of the court dates, there was no victim impact statement taken…in spite my calling the plice on several occasions to arrange an interview and heard nothing back in return, so how the report can say that this was taken into account is laughable…as it does not exist! the police also compromised the case by telling me the attackers name before they should have…ive a strong feeling the defence got wind of this too. we were informed from the word go that he was also in posession of A-class drugs…yet was charged with cannabis??? perhaps it’s paranoia brought on by the hideous past few mnths of worry, fear and anxiety..but we can all sleep easily in our beds knowing that he got a 2 month curfew meaning he is off the streets n a tag between 8pm and 7am! hray for justice!

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