Man who lied to police about murder of Michael Causer avoids jail
The Court of Appeal has declined to impose a custodial sentence on a teenager who lied to police about his involvement in the incidents that led to the death of Michael Causer.
The Attorney General had referred the case of Michael Binsteed to the court.
Eighteen-year-old Michael, who worked as a hairdresser in Liverpool, was attacked at the Huyton home of Binsteed’s grandmother.
After a 999 call he was found by paramedics in the street on Friday 25th July 2008.
Despite surgery to try to reduce swelling on his brain, he died at 2:30pm on Saturday 2nd August.
James O’Connor was sentenced to a minimum of 11 years in prison for Michael’s murder, while Michael Binsteed was given a suspended sentence and community service for perverting the cause of justice.
Binsteed, who called the ambulance but said Michael had been attacked by three random men, was given 34 weeks in custody, suspended for two years.
He was also given a supervision order and must complete 200 hours of unpaid work within a year.
Today the Court of Appeal said they were not prepared to change Binsteed’s sentence.
“The Court granted leave for the Attorney to refer, and concluded that a non custodial sentence was unduly lenient,” according to a statement from the Crown Prosecution Service.
“However, the Court in its discretion did not interfere with the suspended sentence order.
“They accepted Mr Laidlaw’s submissions on behalf of the Attorney that there is a real need to deter others in these circumstances.
“None of Mr Binsteed’s various explanations for his behaviour persuaded the Court that a custodial sentence could have been avoided.
“However, concluding that this was an unduly lenient sentence the Court exercised its discretion. It was noted that he has already done over 130 hours out of the 200 required of the unpaid work requirement.
“They said that immediate custody would not have been lengthy and took into account reduction for Double Jeopardy.”
Appearing as a prosecution witness earlier this year, Binsteed told the court that O’Connor and and another man, Gavin Alker, kicked and punched Mr Causer in the head as he lay sleeping after an all-night drinking session.
He testified that Alker shouted homophobic abuse at Mr Causer as they beat him.
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The prosecution claimed O’Connor and Binsteed then decided to dump Mr Causer in the street by carrying him over a fence.
Binsteed later called an ambulance after seeing Mr Causer bleeding profusely from the nose and mouth, but told police the victim was attacked in the street by three random men.
Binsteed told the court he lied because he is scared of O’Connor and Alker.
Alker testified he had acted in self-defence and was unaware Mr Causer was gay.
He said O’Connor had kicked and punched Mr Causer.
The jury at Liverpool Crown Court spend more than 12 hours considering its verdict before clearing Gavin Alker.