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Cite as: [2003] 2 Cr App Rep (S) 408, [2003] 2 Cr App R (S) 408, [2003] 2 Cr App Rep (S) 69, [2003] 2 Cr App R (S) 69, [2003] EWCA Crim 194

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Neutral Citation Number: [2003] EWCA Crim 194
No: 200201125/Y4, 200206186/Z5, 200203554/Y3, 200205806/X4, 200203226/W1, 200204561/Z3, 200205349/Z4, 200201675/W4, 200203918/Y5, 200204488/X4, 200205399/X4, 200205556/X5,2002200124,W3,200203333/X3,20020554/W5

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL
CRIMINAL DIVISION

Royal Courts of Justice
Strand, London, WC2
30th January 2003 Before:

B e f o r e :

LORD JUSTICE ROSE
(Vice President of the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division)
MR JUSTICE AIKENS
MR JUSTICE MACKAY

____________________

REGINA

-v-

PARVAIS NAJEEB & ORS

____________________

Computer Aided Transcript of the Stenograph Notes of
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited
190 Fleet Street London EC4A 2AG
Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7831 8838
(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)

____________________

MR M MANSFIELD QC & MISS T MYLVAGANA appeared on behalf of the APPELLANTS LATIF, AZAD, HUSSAIN, HANIF, QURBAN, KHAN & RAZA
MR S MYERS appeared on behalf of the APPELLANT KHALIL
MR S WOOD appeared on behalf of the APPELLANT NAJEEB
MR R GIOSERANO appeared on behalf of the APPELLANT QAZI
MR T BAYLISS appeared on behalf of the CROWN

____________________

HTML VERSION OF JUDGMENT
____________________

Crown Copyright ©

  1. THE VICE PRESIDENT: The cases of four appellants and eleven applicants have been heard together in this Court because, although they were sentenced at Bradford Crown Court on different occasions by three different judges, they all took part in a riot in Bradford on 7th/8th July 2001.
  2. The circumstances were these. There had been disturbances in Oldham 2 months before, and in Burnley, two weeks before. In relation to Burnley, the Recorder of Preston subsequently identified as racist attacks which had been made on Asians, and a jury at Preston acquitted all the Asian defendants on the basis that they had been acting in self-defence.
  3. On 6th July 2001, the leader of the British National Party made a speech in Ravenscliffe, Bradford. The Bradford City Council had cancelled a World Inner City Festival which had been scheduled to take place in the city on 7th July. On 7th July, at 10.00 am, Anti Nazi league party supporters began to gather in Centenary Square, Bradford, in response to an assembly by the National Front party which had been contemplated but which the police in Bradford had banned. During the course of the morning, small groups of national front members were in Centenary Square handing out leaflets. There were a number of minor scuffles between opposing factions and a considerable number of Asian youths in the square.
  4. The Asian community were, understandably, concerned about the need to defend themselves against right wing extremists. By 2.30 pm, the city centre was awash with groups of up to 200 people and serious disorder ensued between rival Asian and white males in the Ivegate and Market Street areas. A number of arrests were made, but the majority present were dispersed and made their way towards the Sunbridge area of Bradford. Missiles were thrown by groups of Asian youths at premises, smashing windows. From about this time, police officers were targeted.
  5. At a little after 4.30 pm an Asian man received serious stab wounds at the hands of a white man in Sunbridge Road. Another man was also stabbed in the leg. There were reports to the police by members of the public about Asian males running amok in the city centre. Confrontations between white and Asian youths continued along Ivegate, where a number of those who were ultimately to appear before the courts were arrested. There were further reports to the police about the carrying of an array of sticks and baseball bats and attacks on city centre pubs and shops.
  6. At that stage, the police decided to drive the increasing number of youths out of the city centre to prevent further destruction. At 6.30 pm, this group, which was largely Asian, had been pushed back to the White Abbey Road area. Premises were then attacked by stone throwing Asian youths who appeared to be selecting their targets. At this time, the police came under a heavy barrage of missiles, ranging from petrol bombs to stones. All available police were asked to attend White Abbey Road. Two police horses were stabbed. At one time the police were heavily outnumbered. They were attacked with sections of metal fencing, a cross bow was used and the mob then retreated and began to build barricades, using stolen motorcars which had been set alight. Further public houses were damaged and some set alight. Stolen cars were driven at the police ranks, some of those cars being, as we have said, deliberately set on fire. On one occasion, a car was reversed into the police ranks, the driver trying to knock the officers down.
  7. By 10.00 pm many police officers had been injured and there were no more ambulances available. At 11.30 pm a police commander believed that lives were at risk and other forces were contacted for assistance. Almost 400 police attended from other forces. Other premises were then targeted, including a local labour club, where burning vehicles were put at the front and back, and petrol bombs were thrown trapping those inside. The police arrived soon after and the people inside were released. But the premises were completely destroyed.
  8. At 1.15 am, the mob focused its attention on two garages, Listers Motors in Oak Lane and Sunwin motors on Keighley Road. Both were looted and cars stolen. Both premises were damaged by fire and Listers Garage was completely gutted. Other premises in the Oak Lane area were also badly damaged, as were four further public houses.
  9. By 5.00 am, the troubles were coming to an end. A Do It Yourself in Oak Lane was ramraided at that time by a stolen car and the shop was looted by Asian males.
  10. By reason of these events, over 300 police officers, from a number of police forces, were injured. The damage was estimated at one stage at 27 million. Businesses were ruined. Thirty-five people were arrested during the time of the tumult and others, including most of the defendants before us, surrendered and/or were arrested later, after analysis of video films of the riot had been completed and pictures had been published in the media of some of those who had been involved. At the Bradford Crown Court, videos were shown which depicted the nature and scale of the riot and, in the case of most of the defendants before this Court, some of their activities. All these defendants save Maskin, who pleaded guilty to violent disorder, pleaded guilty to riot. Four of them, Najeeb, Qazi, Mahmood and Raja, each of whom was sentenced to 4 years' imprisonment, appeal by leave of the Single Judge. The other eleven renew their applications for leave to appeal following refusal by the Single Judge. Of those eleven, Maskin was sentenced to 2 years and 9 months and the other 10 to periods of imprisonment between four and six-and-a-half years. A twelfth applicant, Ranzeb, who was sentenced to four-and-a-half years' detention in a young offender institution, abandoned his renewed application for leave to appeal on the day before the hearing began in this Court.
  11. In total, so far, over 100 defendants have been sentenced, the great majority for riot and almost all following pleas of guilty. Leaving aside a sentence of eight-and-a-half years passed on a man called Rashid, who was convicted by the jury of throwing petrol bombs, an activity in which only Khalil of the present defendants was involved, the sentences passed on adults, subject to very few exceptions, have been within the range of 4 to six-and-a-half years, on a plea of guilty to riot. For those under 18 at the time of the offence, terms between 6 and 18 months' detention have been imposed, since this Court, differently constituted, in Ghafoor on 19th July 2002, [2002] EWCA Crim 1857 , reduced from four-and-a-half years to 18 months the sentence on a defendant who was 17 at the time of the offence, the Court saying that, in that case, there was no good reason to depart from the maximum of 2 years generally available for a 17 year old.
  12. In relation to violent disorder, on 7th July, in Infirmary Fields, there was disorder involving, initially, about 20 people. Apart from one community penalty, the sentences imposed on the 16 defendants who have appeared before the courts in relation to that matter have been within the range of 9 months to 3 years. It was this episode in Infirmary Fields in which the defendant Maskin was involved.
  13. In this context, it is convenient to refer to another decision of this Court, differently constituted, in Chapman Neutral Citation [2002] EWCA Crim 2346 Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) transcript of 16th October 2002. There, a sentence of 3 years' detention in a young offender institution, on a young man who was 19 at the time of the offence and was of good character, was upheld by this Court, following his plea of guilty to violent disorder. He had been involved, for about 15 minutes, throwing stones in the direction of the police in the course of disorder at the Ravenscliffe Estate in Bradford which took place two days after the riot with which we are concerned, that is on 9th July 2001. That disorder lasted about 4 hours, and was less serious and violent and caused conspicuously less damage than the Manningham riot with which we are concerned. The sentences imposed on the seven defendants other than Chapman, who all pleaded guilty to violent disorder, were, save for one community penalty, within the bracket of 15 to 30 months' imprisonment or detention in a young offender institution. In giving the judgment of the Court, dismissing Chapman's appeal, Judge LJ quoted extensively and with express approval from the sentencing remarks of Judge Gullick, the Honorary Recorder of Bradford who, as will appear, sentenced almost all these defendants and who, on 23rd November 2001, sentenced a man called Ashraf, who was the first defendant to be dealt with for his part in the Manningham riot. Those remarks of Judge Gullick demonstrate, as is accepted, that he had considered the relevant authorities. Indeed several passages in his remarks expressly reflect the principles which they state. In particular, he stressed the importance of looking at the overall level and nature of the violence used on the occasion in which a particular defendant was involved, the extent of any premeditation, the numbers of persons involved and, in the context of the overall picture, the specific acts of the individual defendant. Judge Gullick repeated those remarks verbatim on many occasions when sentencing other defendants. It is right to say that the remarks approved by the court in Chapman did not include a passage, to which exception is taken before us, in which Judge Gullick said that he was not concerned with the origins of the prolonged violence.
  14. For two of the appellants, Mahmood and Raja and all of the applicants save Khalil, Mr Mansfield QC, while accepting that this was a case of extremely serious disorder calling for custody, submits that the general level of sentences passed was manifestly excessive, having regard first to the judge's express exclusion of reference to the origins of the violence, whereby a deterrent component in the sentence became determinative, and secondly to the level of sentences suggested by the authorities, in particular Keys 8 Cr App R(S) 444 and Pilgrim 5 Cr App R(S) 140. In imposing a sentence of 4 years on those who were the least involved, bearing in mind that the defendants almost all gave themselves up, expressed remorse and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, Mr Mansfield submits that the judge must have given a one-third discount, indicating that his starting figure was 6 years; this, submits Mr Mansfield, was too high.
  15. The authorities stress the importance of the distinction between riots which are premeditated and preplanned and those which are spontaneous. Although the police were targeted, the origin of this riot began in the fear within the Asian community, to which almost all of the defendants referred in their police interviews, of racial attack from right wing elements.
  16. The judge's starting point, submits Mr Mansfield, should have been 2 years not 6 for those who did nothing. Throwing missiles might take the starting point to 3 years, after a trial, but less in view of the pleas and personal mitigation. The sentences should have been, he submits, in the range 18 months to 3 years, not 4 years and upwards. The imposition of severe deterrent sentences can aggravate the position because the Asian community may be deterred from cooperating, as they did in the present case, by bringing forward defendants once they had been identified by pictures in the media.
  17. Miss Mylvaganam made specific submissions in relation to Shazad Ali, Mr Wood in relation to Najeeb, Mr Gioserano in relation to Qazi, Mr Myers in relation to Khalil and Mr Ryder in relation to all the other defendants.
  18. Before turning to the individual defendants, it is convenient to make some general observations as to how we have approached our task. The task of the sentencing judges was, as is accepted, a difficult one, in view of the number of defendants, the large amount of video and other evidence and the necessity to deal with the cases over a period of months. Furthermore, this Court must attach great weight to the knowledge of three judges of local conditions. We have been assisted by the authorities to which we have been referred. But it is necessary to approach them with caution in three respects. First, although in Keys some guidance was given, in particular as to the minimum sentence appropriate for a defendant involved, however slightly, in serious rioting and in relation to sentences of 7 years and upwards being called for in relation to ringleaders, Keys was not a guideline cases in the way those words are presently understood. In particular, the Crown was not represented; there was no comprehensive analysis of aggravating and mitigating features and no clear bands of sentence were identified. Secondly, in the present case, unlike the position in earlier reported cases, there is, in relation to almost every defendant, a video record which clearly identifies him and shows at least some of what he did. This, as we shall seek to explain, is of particular relevance in relation to discount. Thirdly, all riots differ in origin, numbers involved, aim, duration and effect. The riot in the present case was of the utmost gravity. It involved many hundreds of people. It was aimed at the police. It lasted about 12 hours. Many police officers were injured and put in fear and many millions of pounds worth of damage was done. We accept that it was not initially premeditated, for it was almost certainly triggered by the incident after 4.30 in the afternoon, when the Asian man was stabbed. We also accept that there was, on 7th July, anxiety, understandably, in the Bradford Asian community, arising from the cancellation of the Inner City Festival, which had been due to be held that day, and from the presence in the city that day of white racists, who, in recent weeks, had fomented trouble in Burnley and Oldham. But the riot was directed from its early stages at the police, who were seeking to prevent conflict between two rival groups by moving the Asian youths from the town centre and confining them to the Manningham area where most of them lived.
  19. As the hours passed, we have no doubt that there were clear signs of organisation among the rioters (some of whom were communicating by mobile telephone) particularly in missile throwing, in setting alight vehicles and in preparing and distributing petrol bombs. In consequence, what had initially, no doubt, been spontaneous became marked by premeditation: hence those rioters who covered their faces because of what they intended to do and those who left the scene but later returned after changing clothing or having a meal.
  20. It is enormously to the credit of the senior members of the Asian community that they played the role which they did in seeking to calm matters and to restrain the younger members of their community from acting as they did. That attempted peace keeping role is repeatedly apparent in the videos. The defiance of the young of those in entreaties makes the outcome all the more regrettable. It is also enormously to the credit of the senior members of the community that they prevailed on many of the young to surrender to the police when pictures of those involved were published in the media. It is, however, the young, not the senior members of the community, who are before the Court. We have no doubt that deterrent sentences were called for, so that previous good character and circumstances of individual personal mitigation are of comparatively little weight.
  21. We would have expected, in relation to this riot, and we stress that we are not referring to other riots, that, if any ringleader had been caught and convicted following a trial, a sentence at or near the statutory maximum of 10 years would have been imposed. Immediately below that highest level of culpability, we would have expected an active and persistent participant, who threw petrol bombs or used a cross bow or drove a car at the police to be sentenced, following a trial, to between 8 and 9 years, as was Rashid, to whom we referred earlier, who threw petrol bombs.
  22. Below that level, for those who participated over a number of hours, and threw missiles less dangerous than petrol bombs but potentially more damaging than stones, such as gas cylinders, knives, metal fences or poles, or who set fire to cars, we would have expected, following a trial, sentences of 6 to 7 years. Below that level, for those present for a significant period and repeatedly throwing missiles such as bricks or stones, we would have expected sentences of 5 years following a trial. Lesser degrees of participation would, we would have expected, attract sentences at a lower level. All the figures which we have mentioned would need to be discounted in an appropriate way for pleas of guilty and early co-operation with the police.
  23. So far as the sentences actually passed on these defendants are concerned, it is unfortunate that Judge Gullick, in his sentencing remarks, said that he was not concerned with the origins of the prolonged violence. It may be that what he meant was that it was not the court's task to investigate the precise origins of the violence and, in any event, that those origins paled into insignificance compared with the many hours of rioting which followed. But his words could well be understood as meaning that the reasons why the riots started were entirely irrelevant. If he meant that, he was wrong.
  24. For the purposes of the proceedings before us, the defendants have been divided into different bands according to the sentences they received. In band one, are those sentenced to 4 years; in band two, those sentenced to four-and-a-half years or 4 years 9 months; in band three, those sentenced to 5 years; and in band 4, Maskin alone, who was dealt with for violent disorder. Khalil, who, as we have said, received six-and-a-half years, is in a fifth band. None of the Crown Court judges put the defendants in bands in this way.
  25. It is to be noted that none of these defendants was sentenced for mere encouragement by presence. All were present for a significant period of time, in some cases for many hours, and almost all threw missiles more than once. The appropriate starting point in relation to each was therefore very significantly above the 2 years indicated in Keys. We do not accept that Judge Gullick's starting point for the defendant's before him who were least involved, was 6 years. It is, of course, well established that, in general, a discount of the order of one-third will be given for a plea of guilty. But, depending on the particulars circumstances, the discount may be higher or lower. It is of a particular relevance here that the courts have consistently said that the discount for plea may be substantially less than one-third, when the evidence against a defendant is overwhelming and his prospects of acquittal on a trial are negligible. It is a striking feature of the present case that, as we have already pointed out, video film clearly identified virtually all the defendants by face and clothing and showed some of their activity. In these circumstances, a discount as great as one-third was not, in our view, to be expected for pleading guilty. In consequence if, as seems likely, Judge Gullick's starting point for the least involved was in the region of 5 years, the question arises as to whether that was too high.
  26. We have already indicated, in the remarks we have made about our general approach, that it was not. Ultimately, of course, the question we must ask in relation to each defendant is whether the sentence passed on him was manifestly excessive for his part in this riot.
  27. We turn to the individual defendants and we will deal with them in the order in which they appear in the Court list. The principal factors on the basis of which we draw distinctions between them relate to the stage at which each was present, the duration of his presence and what he did while there. Najeeb pleaded guilty on 11th December 2001 and was sentenced by Judge Gullick on 8th February 2002. He was born in August 1974, so he is now 28. He was first captured on video in Centenary Square a little before 4.00 pm. He was seen on a couple of occasions later, with the crowd, in both Sunbridge Road and Ivegate and he was also seen running through a pedestrian precinct with a larger crowd. At 6.48 pm he was in the hostile crowd on White Abbey Road, where barricades had been erected and missiles were being thrown at police lines. At 6.54, he jumped from behind others, swinging his right arm forward, in a throwing motion, sufficient to lift him off his feet and spin his body through 90 degrees although no missile was visible. He handed himself in within hours of seeing his photograph in the newspaper. His explanation, at that time, for the throwing action was that he was just moving his arm in a throwing motion without a missile because he was drunk. His counsel, however, accepted that he had thrown one missile. He pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. There were character references upon him, in particular, from his employers.
  28. On his behalf, Mr Wood submits that there need not have been a long-term sentence, having regard to the limited part which he played in these events. Mr Wood stressed the early plea and the appellant's remorse. With those submissions we have some sympathy. Accordingly the appeal of Najeeb is allowed, the sentence of 4 years upon him is quashed and we substitute a sentence of 3 years' imprisonment.
  29. Qazi pleaded guilty on 3rd April 2002 and was sentenced by Judge Gullick on 27th September. He was among those in the front line of the riot early in the evening, throwing a missile at the police and arming himself with a broken lamp pole and he was among a group which attacked a police van, the appellant striking it three times with the pole. He then picked up a shopping trolley, which he threw at one of the police vans. At about 8.00 pm he was seen with a gas cylinder, which he threw towards the police, knocking an officer over. Subsequently, he was seen gesticulating towards the police, and he left the scene after about two-and-a-half hours. However, after a change of clothing he returned at about 10.15 pm, about 2 hours after he had left. His face was covered. He gesticulated towards the police. He picked up a burning object which he threw at a stolen car. He hurled a gas cylinder, from a short distance, at the police lines knocking an officer down. He left the scene of the riot and went to a nightclub in Sheffield. He was arrested some time later, after he had been recognised from his photograph.
  30. The learned judge, in passing sentence, said that, but for his mental condition, to which in a moment we shall turn, a sentence of five-and-a-half years' imprisonment would have been imposed. The sentence passed was of 4 years.
  31. Qazi was born in April 1980. There were upon him and are before this Court psychiatric reports from Dr Scala, dated 13th February 2002, and from Dr Harrop, dated 21st March 2002 with an addendum, dated 16th May 2002. This appellant suffers from a mental illness, namely mania, whereby he shows an elevation in mood out of keeping with his circumstances, accompanied by overactivity, grandiose ideas and over confidence. In consequence, his behaviour may be reckless or foolhardy. In Dr Scala's view, the appellant's thought processes and reasoning were, at the time of the riot, affected by a manic episode, whereby he did not retain full responsibility for his actions. At the time of Dr Scala's report, he was receiving appropriate treatment for his condition. It appears from Dr Harrop's reports, that he had earlier, that is to say before the riot, been receiving inappropriate treatment for his bi-pola effective disorder, as she describes it. But it was made clear in the addendum to her report that that misprescription cannot, because it had not taken place over a sufficiently long period, have contributed to his conduct at the time of the riot. He was, however, at that time, hypo manic.
  32. Mr Gioserano, on behalf of this appellant, did not take issue with the judge's starting point of five-and-a-half years. That is unsurprising. For the reasons which we have already given conduct might well have attracted a starting point somewhat higher than five-and-a-half years. Mr Gioserano conceded that Qazi played a most serious part in this riot. As against that, he submitted, it cannot safely be said that he would necessarily have been involved at all, had he not been suffering from the mental disorder to which we have referred.
  33. The learned judge, Mr Gioserano submitted, effectively found, in a phrase from a different context, diminished responsibility on the part of this appellant. In consequence, it was submitted that there should have been a much greater reduction on the otherwise appropriate sentence than to the term of 4 years which the judge imposed. Mr Gioserano suggested that it could be reduced to such an extent as might permit a sentence to be suspended.
  34. We agree with the submission that the learned judge made an insufficient reduction. We are not persuaded that it was appropriate for a suspended sentence to be imposed. We shall allowed Qazi's appeal, by quashing the sentence of 4 years and substituting for it a sentence of 2 years' imprisonment.
  35. Mahmood pleaded guilty on 7th May 2002 and was sentenced by Judge Gullick. He was present for about 5 hours and was seen in the crowd several times. Once he threw an object at the police lines. He was also seen making gestures towards the police. He was seen in the vicinity of two cars which were being damaged and also nearby when a petrol bomb was thrown, although there was no suggestion that he himself threw such a bomb. He was arrested on 31st January 2002. He admitted his part in interview. He has previous convictions, the only one which is possibly relevant being for common assault some time ago. He was born in January 1978.
  36. On his behalf, Mr Ryder submitted there was significant personal mitigation in relation to Mahmood. He has a sick child with a serious congenital heart defect. His wife does not speak English. Mr Ryder conceded, rightly, that Mahmood's activity was not at the lowest end of activity, because he threw missiles and was there for five hours. Those submissions we have considered. We are unpersuaded that the sentence of 4 years which was passed upon him was excessive and accordingly his appeal is dismissed.
  37. Raja pleaded guilty on 30th July 2002 and was sentenced by Judge Gullick on 6th September. He was present between 6 and 7 hours. He was seen making threatening gestures towards the police and, on four separate occasions, threw missiles between the police lines. He covered his face intermittently with a towel. He surrendered to the police in April 2002. Because of the deeply distressing circumstances surrounding his infant child, who sadly died in December 2002, Raja was released on bail, on the clear understanding that no inference was to be drawn from that as to what the ultimate outcome of this appeal would be. Mr Ryder submitted that Raja was in the same category as Mahmood, being involved above the minimum level. He drew attention to the fact that the appellant has a disabled younger sister, whom Raja looks after. He refers to impressive written references speaking of Raja's character.
  38. In our judgment, there is no distinction to be drawn between Raja and Mahmood. We cannot accede to a submission that a sentence of 4 years upon him was manifestly excessive. Accordingly his appeal must be dismissed.
  39. Maskin, as we have said, pleaded guilty to violent disorder. He did so at the first opportunity, on 26th March 2002. He was sentenced by Judge Bartfield on 10th May. He was, as earlier indicated, a participant in the early disturbances in Infirmary Fields, which involved, initially, some 20 people. In the course of that, he was seen to make a gesture at the police and, on two other occasions, he threw stones towards the officers. He voluntarily surrendered after his picture was in the local papers. He declined to comment on his part when he was interviewed.
  40. Mr Ryder submitted that the sentence which was passed upon Maskin, having regard to his comparatively small role in the early incident, was higher than it needed to be. We agree. We give Maskin leave to appeal against sentence. We quash the sentence of 2 years and 9 months and substitute for it a sentence of 2 years.
  41. Shazad Ali pleaded guilty on 14th May 2002 and was sentenced by Judge Gullick to 4 years on 5th July. On several occasions, over a 20 minute period, he was seen throwing missiles. He was depicted in a video. He was, at one stage, masked. He surrendered to the police on 9th February 2002, after his photograph had appeared in the local press. He denied at that time that it was a photograph of him, but he, in due course, pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. He was born in May 1980 and is of good character. He is, as Miss Mylvaganam points out, the senior male in the family because his mother, unusually in this community, is divorced. He is the backbone of the family. He has written a letter to the Court which we have read and Miss Mylvaganam relies on character references upon Ali. Those references include an indication that he was a highly motivated student for whom a university place was available. Having regard to all of these matters and, in particular, the short period for which he was involved in this incident, we take the view that the sentence of 4 years imposed by the learned judge was longer than it need have been. We give leave to appeal. We allow the appeal. We quash that sentence and we substitute for it a sentence of 3 years' imprisonment.
  42. Pandoor pleaded guilty on 23rd July 2002. He was sentenced by Judge Scott on 16th August to 4 years' imprisonment. His first involvement was at about 6.30 pm and he remained in the crowd until the early hours of the following morning. On three separate occasions, at about 9.00 pm, when he was wearing a mask, he threw a missile at the police. At about 11.00 pm, again, he threw a missile and, again, shortly after midnight, when he was wearing a different coloured mask, he threw another missile at the police. Video film shows him at or near the front of those confronting the police, on a number of separate occasions.
  43. He did not surrender. He was arrested. Following arrest he made frank admissions. He was of good character.
  44. Mr Ryder submitted that Pandoor should not have received a sentence of 4 years. He points out, rightly, that Judge Scott specifically referred to the underlying causes of the riot. In our judgment, there was nothing wrong with the sentence passed upon Pandoor and accordingly we refuse him leave to appeal.
  45. Latif pleaded guilty on 12th December 2001 and was sentenced to 4 years 9 months by Judge Gullick on 15th February 2002. Latif was present for a three hour period. He was seen once with a metal bar in his hand, and on a number of occasions he threw stones at the police lines. He surrendered to the police in August, after a picture had appeared in newspapers which resembled him. He said it was not him because, he claimed, he had been either at work or in Birmingham. Those false alibis had to be investigated. Eventually, in November, he made full admissions and expressed remorse. He was born in November 1968. He has no relevant previous convictions as an adult.
  46. Mr Ryder, on Latif's behalf, draws attention to written references upon him and to the pre-sentence report. In our judgment, his participation in these events was at a slightly higher level than those defendants with whom, so far, we have dealt. We are unable to accept that the sentence of 4 years and 9 months was manifestly excessive. His renewed application is therefore refused.
  47. Azad pleaded guilty on 25th May 2002 and was sentenced by Judge Gullick on 21st June. He was around between 5.00 pm and shortly after midnight. On a number of occasions he was seen to throw stones and missiles at the police, one of which hit the shields of one of the officers. He was also seen near a burning barricade and near an overturned car. He was at or near the front of the rioters throughout. On occasions he was hooded. On others his sweater was pulled up to conceal his face. He was taken home by his father. But, as we have said, by that time he had been there for some seven hours.
  48. He surrendered to the police following the publication of his picture in the local paper. He expressed remorse and admitted taking part in these events. He was born in February 1976. He is of good character.
  49. On his behalf, Mr Ryder draws attention to the fact that he surrendered and was not a participant in looting or arson and to the contents of the pre-sentence reports. In our judgment, the role of this defendant was rightly assessed at a level higher than that of those least involved. Accordingly, we refuse leave to appeal against his sentence of 4 years and 9 months.
  50. Hussain pleaded guilty on 16th April 2002 and was sentenced by Judge Gullick on 1st July. He was first seen with a large group of men in a park, and he there threw a missile towards the police. He was present, among the hostile crowds, for about eight hours, and he was repeatedly throwing missiles at the police. At one stage, he left for a meal and then returned to the riot. He was seen with a stone or brick in his hand, and he pulled up the hood on his jacket to try to conceal his identity. He was later seen at the front of the crowd, with a stone in his hand about to throw it but, as the police advanced towards the crowd, he melted back. He surrendered in January 2002, and said he could not remember the extent of his involvement but, when he was shown the video which had been made of him, he made full admissions. He was born in May 1975. He has no relevant previous conviction. He is described in the pre-sentence report as showing little remorse, although in a letter he has expressed regret. There are three character references upon him.
  51. The submission by Mr Ryder is that there may well have been some untoward lack of harmony between Hussain and the probation officer who made the pre-sentence report upon him. That we take into account. We are, however, unpersuaded that the sentence of four-and-a-half years passed upon him was manifestly excessive. Accordingly his renewed application is refused.
  52. Hanif pleaded guilty on 8th May 2002 and was sentenced on 14th June by Judge Gullick to 4 years and 9 months. He participated for over 2 hours and, on six separate occasions threw stones, or other missiles, at the police. He was also involved in an attack on a police van and picked up a metal fence, which he threw at a police van. He was hooded for most of the time. He encouraged others with victory gestures. He surrendered in January 2002, and admitted throwing stones, he said, because everyone else was. He was born in September 1979. Save possibly for one offence of obstructing the police, he has no previous relevant convictions.
  53. On his behalf, Mr Ryder draws attention to the explanation given by Hanif to the officer who prepared the report upon him as to his presence, namely because of the British National party and its activities. We are unpersuaded that the sentence of 4 years and 9 months was a manifestly excessive sentence having regard to his role in these events. Accordingly his renewed application for permission to appeal is refused.
  54. Qurban pleaded guilty on 17th April 2002, and was sentenced by Judge Gullick on 28th May. He participated for a period of 4 hours or so and was seen to throw a total of nine missiles at the police. He was also videoed brandishing a large light tube, not so much as a weapon, but, no doubt, by way of encouragement to others. He surrendered in August 2001. He admitted being in the city centre but denied throwing missiles. He denied, initially, that he was the person who looked like him in the video. The explanation for that denial was, he said, that he had actually been out drinking and did not want his parents or his family to know about that. He was born in June 1980. He was of previous good character. His pre-sentence report stresses his remorse, and there are three character references which speak well of him.
  55. Mr Ryder submitted that the sentence of 4 years and 9 months was manifestly excessive. We do not agree. Accordingly it becomes unnecessary to consider whether it would be appropriate to grant an extension of 12 weeks which is needed for the purposes of his application. In our judgment, there is no arguable ground for appeal and his renewed application is refused.
  56. Khalil pleaded guilty on 13th November 2001 and was sentenced by Judge Scott on 5th December. He was present for about 3 hours. He was seen carrying a road sign as a makeshift shield on two separate occasions. He was twice seen throwing missiles at police officers. He carried burning debris on one occasion and he tried to ignite something which was in his hand on one occasion. He was seen at the rear of a vehicle which others were trying to set fire to and was seen to place objects in the rear of that vehicle. He rolled a beer barrel towards the police lines. He held a petrol bomb in his hand. Another person ignited it, the applicant rushed towards the police lines and threw the bomb directly at the officers. He was then, unsurprisingly, followed by a police helicopter and that led to him being arrested at or not far from the scene. He made no comment in interview.
  57. He was born in October 1972. He has a previous conviction for obstructing the police, but no conceivably relevant other convictions. The prison report speaks of him presenting no problems.
  58. Mr Myers, on his behalf, submits that the judge must have taken too high a starting point and erred in expressly withholding the full credit for a guilty plea. Mr Myers drew a distinction between the way in which the judge apparently accorded full credit to another defendant called Shah, who appeared with him in the dock. It is apparent, from what Mr Myers told us that that defendant, who was sentenced to 4 years, was younger, of good character and his involvement in these events was conspicuously less than that of Khalil.
  59. In our judgment, the sentence of six-and-a-half years passed upon Khalil, however unhappily expressed the judge's words in relation to giving of discount may or may not have been, was an appropriate one. It certainly cannot be said that it was arguably manifestly excessive. Accordingly, his renewed application is refused.
  60. Khan pleaded guilty on 12th April 2002. He was sentenced by Judge Bartfield on 10th May. He went to the city centre at about 1.00 pm to protest against the British National Party. He was seen first on video at 1.15, in the city centre, behaving perfectly peacefully and responsibly. A little after 8.30 pm, by which time he had changed some of his clothes, he was in White Abbey Road throwing missiles at the police. At about 8.45 he was carrying a milk crate towards a metal fencing, which had been placed in the road by rioters. He was one of a large group which damaged a motor vehicle, although he was not himself seen to be doing any damage. Later he was seen, with a mask on the lower part of his face, helping to erect a barricade in the road by placing a metal barrel and road sign in the roadway. He was also seen carrying a wooden stick. At about 9.30 he was again seen on the video, throwing missiles towards the police lines. He surrendered to the police, after his picture had appeared in the newspapers. He initially lied about his involvement and asked to go on an identification parade although that was not ultimately pursued. He pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
  61. He was born in December 1980. He has no relevant previous convictions. Character references speak of him working hard at college. The learned judge, in passing sentence, said that the full discount was not appropriate, because he had not admitted his participation at the outset.
  62. Mr Ryder drew attention to the terms of the pre-sentence report and to the fact, as is plain from the proper way in which he was initially behaving, that he was, at the outset, no more than a spectator. He became, later in the evening, in the way which we have described, far more than a spectator. We are unpersuaded that the sentence of 5 years which was passed upon him, was arguably manifestly excessive. Accordingly his renewed application is refused.
  63. Raza pleaded guilty on 27th March 2002, and was sentenced thereafter by Judge Gullick. He was present for just over 5 hours. He was seen on a number of occasions in a group of hostile youths, at the front of the group, the group throwing stones at the police. He himself threw missiles several times, and on one occasion was seen apparently instructing others how to damage a car, which was subsequently set on fire and pushed towards the police lines. He is repeatedly depicted in the videos, in the front line of those facing the police. He made, having surrendered in February 2002, on return to this country from abroad, frank admissions to the police and expressed his remorse. He was born in September 1980. He was of good character. There are six character references upon him. The prison report upon him indicates that he has presented no problems.
  64. On his behalf, Mr Ryder submits that a sentence of 5 years was excessive. We are unable to agree, having regard to the length of time during which this applicant was present and that which he did. In those circumstances, his renewed application is refused.
  65. MR MANSFIELD: If I detain you just for a moment. As your Lordships are aware there were a large number of cases here, certainly in relation to those that I represent there were 12. I appreciate in four cases leave has been granted and people represented and I would ask your Lordship consider, in those cases, bearing in mind the background, and the matters of public importance so far as sentencing is concerned that are raised in that matter, that your Lordship would consider extending legal aid in one of two ways. One, to cover my instructing solicitor in preparation, as your Lordship has seen, in relation to bundles and also in terms of my own presence.
  66. THE VICE PRESIDENT: In relation to four matters on which you succeeded. (Pause) Yes, Mr Mansfield.


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URL: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Crim/2003/194.html