Teenager’s sentence for brutal attack on Muslim pensioner reduced
Categories: Latest News
Tuesday June 10 2014
The Daily Mirror picks up on the coverage on local news site Get West London of a story on the reduction in the length of the jail sentence imposed on a teenager for his brutal attack on an elderly Muslim man last July.
The elderly man, wearing traditional Muslim dress at the time of the incident, was on his way to the mosque to perform his evening prayer.
Fraser Giles, who was 18 at the time of the incident, asked the pensioner whether he was a ‘white Muslim’ before punching him in the face. The man, who fell to the ground from the blow, was then kicked in the head. The attack left the elderly man in hospital for 12 days with ‘life-threatening injuries’ including a skull fracture and bruising to the brain which affected his cognitive and speech functions.
In December, Giles was sentenced to 8 years’ detention at a young offenders’ institution after he admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
Giles was not alone in acting against the pensioner with his father and two other individuals apprehended for their role in the attack. At the time, Detective Chief Inspector Richard Turner, of Hillingdon Police, said: “The victim is 79 years old and a well respected local man who was subjected to a cowardly and unprovoked attack while walking to his local mosque to worship. The perpetrator attacked him out of hatred and a perverse ideology that took no account of how vulnerable a target he was.”
“Those who assisted him after the attack share that culpability and the sentences reflect both the seriousness of the attack and the consequences of supporting the attacker in his attempts to evade prosecution.”
However, three senior judges at London’s Appeal Court in an appeal brought by Giles against the sentence have consequently reduced this to six years.
Justice Andrew Smith noted that Giles, who was 17 at the time, had been drinking heavily before he attacked the victim. Using reports related to his time in custody following the attack, the judge added that the incident was out of character and was not premeditated.
Despite the harm caused to the pensioner, the Justice Smith said “We consider that, taking into account his age, early plea and his otherwise good character, a sentence of six years constitutes an appropriate sentence for this offence and we reduce the sentence accordingly.”
The reduction in sentencing of religiously or racially motivated crimes is not new. Three EDL supporters, who were convicted of racially or religious aggravated public disorder in Middlesbrough also received reduced fines and legal costs following an appeal launched against the initial judgments.
Yet in a recent report on hate crime, the Law Commission found that enhanced sentencing is not being used sufficiently in prosecuting hate crimes. The report explores the use of enhanced sentencing for hate crime under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 through consultations with stakeholders, including NGOs, and found that many of its consultees expressed concern over the use of unduly lenient sentences in cases prosecuted as hate crimes, even when enhanced sentencing is applied.
The Law Commission report further states: “The enhanced sentencing system is a potentially powerful weapon in the fight against hate crime. Its communicative power lies in the requirement that the judge declares in open court that the offender’s sentence has been increased because the hate element has made the offence more serious. But it is being under-used and no adequate record is made of cases where it has been applied.”
The Commission is thus proposing that when enhanced sentencing is applied, it should be recorded on the offender’s criminal record in the Police National Computer (PNC). Similarly in a conviction for an aggravated offence, the recommendations is for record to show the offence was aggravated by hostility.