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Court of Appeal refuses to lengthen ‘lenient’ sentence of man who burnt gay teenager to death

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  1. Reading the judgment of the Court of Appeal today (available at it is clear that the fault lies not with the Court of Appeal, but with the CPS who allowed the original sentencing judge to sentence Jordan Sheard without ever hearing any evidence from him, or putting any evidence before the judge that the offence was motivated by hostility towards gay people or people with disabilities.

    The judge can’t sentence on that basis unless there is evidence of it, and the CPS failed to bring evidence of it. The Court of Appeal cannot correct that error now. The Court of Appeal itself says “Had the Attorney General’s contentions been supported by oral evidence during the (…) hearing the likelihood is that his appeal would have been allowed and the sentence quashed as unduly lenient.

    Because there was no oral evidence during the original hearing – the fault of the CPS – the judges today had no choice.

    1. Colin (London) 10 Jul 2013, 10:33pm

      Then where is justice? Why can’t the case be reheard with evidence. He was a man……however disabled…..he was a man.

      Please CPS and his family demand a retrial.

      1. The difficulty is that there wasn’t a trial in the first place. Jordan Sheard pleaded guilty to the offence and so there was only a sentencing hearing, not a trial. The Court of Appeal cannot demand that the sentencing hearing take place again and so were left with no choice but to leave the sentence as it was.

        The fault here lies with the CPS in not putting forward evidence about the hostility towards the victim because of his sexual orientation and/or disability during the sentencing hearing. I agree that there has not been proper justice in this case. The CPS are to blame for that.

        1. Maxine Farley 11 Jul 2013, 2:16pm

          Can anything be done about this? I need to do something. Stephen deserves justice not this complete and utter farce.

          1. Without redefining the justice system I don’t see what else can be done being honest. As Richard so eloquently put once the sentence was passed, everyone after that point has had their hands tied. I’m not even sure the original judge could have done much as he was charged with manslaughter, and pleaded guilty to it. Yes someone died, but manslaughter is different to murder for very good reasons so again I don’t see what the original judge could have done given the evidence he had at the time. The CPS royally screwed this one up, and i’m so sorry the poor lads family have to now go through the ins and outs of a justice system to get no further on.

    2. de Villiers 11 Jul 2013, 2:58pm

      In the decision, the court seems to criticise the original judge for agreeing to continue the process with no witnesses.

      Does the judge not have the powers to call the witnesses or to refuse to follow the suggestions of the avocats?

  2. Deliberately setting ANY one on fire having dowsed them in an inflamable liquid should have attracted a harsher sentance the instance that the perpetrator could have been motivated by or influenced by prejudice is in my opinion a further factor which the prosecution given the circumstances SHOULD have been an automatic concern for investigation and the gathering of evidence, I sincerely hope the prosecutor or prosecutors who dealt with this case are no longer in post.
    In my opinion the sentence should have been greater for the offense as prosecuted and if the preducial aggrivation had been properly handled it should have been greater still.
    I am appalled!

  3. So Jordan Sheard will serve about only 2 years of his sentence right?

    On what planet is 2 years a sufficient sentence for killing someone.

  4. I hope there are other avenues of appeal for this. Even if the death could in any way be described as accidental, or unforeseeable, three and a half years would still be too short a sentence for the person responsible.

  5. I’m sure all the leftie-liberals at PN will be pleased; after all, we can’t punish criminals now, can we? As far as I’m concerned, the killer should have swung.

    1. You mean the loony left , phoney pc brigade who are far from liberal , just programmed like sheep to purport usual double standards hypocrisy(whom seem to be on troll patrol of these boards of late).

      1. You’re right, but when people refer to ‘the left’ these days, they generally mean the loony left, seeing as the traditional left is dead in the UK – Labour is stuffed full of champagne-slurping internationalists and unrepentant communists who are more interested in creating a horrid border-less utopia than helping the common people of Britain. F**k the Labour Party.

        1. Yes , I agree with you , the loony far left are elitist, insulated , bubble wrapped world , programmed clones only concerned with their own vested interests and doctrine. They are so insular, condescending and pompous in their doctrine and propaganda that in actual fact , they are increasing support for the right.

          1. JackAlison 11 Jul 2013, 5:45am

            A person who was disabled dies in horrific circumstances
            it has NOTHING to do with left or right
            but dignity humanity empathy sadness and grief
            It is a reminder of just how vulnerable some LGBTI youth are
            Your insensitive ramblings belie a deep seated pathology toward anything that is human decent or anyway shows compassion to his distraught family and friends
            I just hope that they dont read any of the garbage you have written
            I am glad my parents brought me up, Not dragged me up with values very different to yours
            both of u disgust me

          2. @jackalison, you are talking rubbish, I am indignant of this pathetic sentence but blame so called do gooders for investing disproportionately in the human rights of murderers rather than the victim or victims family.
            I was “dragged” “up” as you put it by a disabled single mother and am very aware of the prejudice and struggle faced with disability.
            Maybe I pushed your button as you fit the prototype of those I detailed and your ego is more bruised than any sense of humane understanding.
            your distaste for me being critical of those whose sympathy is with the perpetrator rather than victim is noted as your manipulative attempt to subvert and deflect away from the seriousness of this crime via phoney concern.
            I find your tactics to manipulate grotesque.

  6. Tim Hanafin 10 Jul 2013, 6:08pm

    Once again the CPS fails to do its job properly – systemic failure from top to bottoms

  7. Midnighter 10 Jul 2013, 6:10pm

    Why can’t this evidence be used retrospectively to determine that an extension in sentence is justified? I genuinely don’t understand the logic to suggest it isn’t fair or right. The guy was found guilty, why are we worried about his feelings over unexpectedly having to serve a more appropriate sentence?

    Is there any word of what is happening to address the failings of the CPS and punish those responsible for this failure of justice?

    I find this baffling.

  8. Manslaughter, that’s what they’re calling it. A maximum sentence of up to 14 years, but this little turd is only getting a couple? He knew what he was doing, everyone did. Stephen’s so called friends ran instead of remaining to help put out the flames…. cowards. Nice 18th birthday eh, only to subcum (sp) to his injuries the next day. Stephen had disabilities and I’ll bank every one of his friends knew this too. The laws in England really are outdated and seriously need to be re written. IF this little turd gets off, then no justice has been served. Stephen’s family must endure a life time of pain and sorrow, due to the barbaric (again sp) of Jordan Sheard. He’s 20 and therefore an adult. He should be charged as such and sentenced accordingly.

  9. There are certain contributors to comments board on pink news , who probably welcome this judgement as they seem more concerned with the human rights of murderers/paedophiles whom they believe are entitled to a review of a horrific crime. So when this murderous crud goes before a parole board of so called experts , his supporters on here will be ranting of how his human rights are restricted and how changed he is.

    1. You’re a tasteless individual indeed, to use the death of this boy as a means to advertise your personal politics. He hasn’t been given a life sentence without possibility of parole. He hasn’t even been given a sentence anywhere close to 15 years.

      Climb back under your rock you horrible little man.

      1. Colin (London) 10 Jul 2013, 10:37pm

        I get Rapture’s point. And I do not disagree with it. Actually Rapture you are right. Many of the issues we comment on appear black and white but they are interconnected laws, actions and responsilities.

        Thanks for the nudge and looking deeper.

      2. You are one of the vile commentators on another thread , who is in favour of murderers/child killers having a review of their life sentences for heinous crimes, so i’ll take your stupid personal attack as complimentary coming from someone with your lack of moral compass. .

  10. Seems the BBC gave this case little or no publicity when it happened last year. They frequently treat homophobic crimes in the same way, and that’s why homophobic hate crimes are taken less seriously than, say, racist hate crimes.

    1. It’s not just the BBC the media in general are at fault. Not that I am endorsing the BBC in anyway.

      I’ve also noticed the only stories about people with AS or autism, in the UK media tend to be very negative. Along the lines of “Joe Blog’s asperger son stole his credit card and spent 40 million pounds on chewing gum”.

  11. jonnielondon 10 Jul 2013, 10:01pm

    Working with people with learning disabilities, I completely empathize with Steven. There has definitely been a serious miscarriage of justice here!

  12. Fingers crossed (now that the CPS have f-ed this up) that the rehabilitation aims of incarceration will be met in this case, because currently this boy seems like a total sociopath.

  13. Every time I think of what happened to this poor boy I am simply horrified. With all his friends standing there cheering on the killer… I just don’t get it. What did they think they were playing at?
    The killer in this case should have been sentenced to at least 20 years. How sick do you have to be to even think of doing this to a fellow human being (or even an animal). I can only hope he meets horrifying circumstances in prison.

  14. Maxine Farley 11 Jul 2013, 10:30am

    I cannot believe this has happened!. Did Stephens life not count for anything in the eyes of the judges? why are they siding with Jordan Sheard that set a vulnerable young man with disabilities on fire? what planet are they living on!

  15. The law is about more than punishment. The conviction alone ruins the offender’s life; keeping him in prison serves no purpose at all and all this faux-outrage at the length of the sentence misses the point of justice completely.

    1. It does not miss the point at all and how dare you suggest the outrage is fake. I was one of those who referred the case back to the Attorney General to be looked at again. I did so because I believed, and still believe, the sentence was unduly lenient given the facts of this brutal attack.
      Now I know the blame for this travesty lies with the CPS, I will certainly being making a formal complaint about them. Just for the record, I’ve worked with offenders on rehabilitation and am patently aware that time in prison in not the only consideration, but any sentence must be commensurate and that is not the case here.

    2. Maxine Farley 27 Jul 2013, 4:11pm

      I feel no sympathy for Jordan if his life is ruined. He will be back at home with his family in two years, Steven will never return to his family. Two years is not justice. They wrote ‘gay boy ‘ on the walls, trashed his bedroom, drew obscene pictures on his body and set him on fire. He just wanted to celebrate his birthday with them and do what any other 18 year old would do. I cannot believe they would treat him with so little respect. I think letting Jordan out in two years is extremely irresponsible as many people have noted their feelings of anger. There could be repercussions.

  16. only 3 years? If Jordan Sheard lived in my town I don’t think I could sleep at night. Nor would I want any child of mine going to the same school.

    This wasn’t and accident. This was cruel and violent and it resulted in the death of a young person. I consider this person malicious and 3 years does not do justice for the crime committed

  17. I would urge readers to make a complaint about this injustice. The CPS has again failed to do it’s job and they need to be held accountable for the injustice they have caused. If you have time:
    First port of call is to email or write to your local MP. Second email or write to the head of the CPS. Third email or write to the Home Office and or The Ministry of Justice.
    I was one of the people who was so outraged by the sentence that I referred it to The Attorney General. I am now outraged by the incompetence of the CPS.

    1. Maxine Farley 27 Jul 2013, 4:13pm

      I have written to The Ministry of Justice. This is a travesty of justice.

  18. I can see the Court of Appeal’s point that it was unable to consider evidence which the Crown had failed to present at trial, and so was unable to consider the anti-gay and anti-disability elements.

    But I remain surprised at the leniency of the sentence given the type of assault. A term of three and a half years is similar to the kind of tariff applied in “single punch” cases – where an assailant intended to cause only mild injury and death unexpectedly resulted. The assault in this case – lighting genitals on fire – was obviously going to cause serious harm and agonising pain. Why did it receive a “single punch” sentence? The defendant was lucky not to be charged with murder (the threshold for which is intent to cause GBH).

    The trial judge referred to this horrific attack as “horseplay” and seems to have believed that the accompanying verbal bullying indicated an intention not to harm the victim seriously. This is a common misunderstanding of bullying which must be addressed.

  19. The man’s actions directly lead to the death of another. What kind of court thinks the punishment should not be longer than a drug offense? It’s called MURDER and the penalties should be consistent.

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