QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE DIVISIONAL COURT
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE HENRIQUES
|THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS||(CLAIMANT)|
|NORTH DURHAM JUSTICES||(DEFENDANT)|
|MR JAMES SLADE||(INTERESTED PARTY)|
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The DEFENDANT did not appear and was not represented
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"1. The use of a weapon of a kind likely to cause serious injury.
2. A weapon is used and serious injury is caused.
3. More than minor injury is caused by kicking, headbutting or similar forms of assault.
4. Serious violence is caused to those whose work has to be done in contact with the public or who are likely to face violence in the course of their work.
5. Violence to vulnerable people, eg the elderly and infirm.
6. The offence has clear racial motivation."
The use of a shod foot has on many occasions been described or equated with the use of a weapon, and quite rightly so. Accordingly, the present case engaged features (1), (2) and (3).
"However surprising the decision may have been, it is not one which I am prepared to categorise as one which went outside the discretion available to the justices so as to be able to describe it as perverse."
"In view of the seriousness of the offences, custody is likely to be considered an option. However, this will have considerable affect [sic] on Mr Slade's future especially in his intention to join the army. Also such a sentence would place him with those more sophisticatedly criminal and given he is a low risk of offending the Court may consider that such a sentence will not be necessary as a deterrent to further offending."
"It may be that few justices would have come to the same conclusion as to the right answer to that question as these justices did, but I am not prepared to say that in their understandable and commendable desire to seek to ensure that the sanction that they imposed was appropriate for the very special circumstances of this case, they went beyond what was a reasonable response."
"This court would, I expect, therefore be slow to interfere with decisions of this character made by a magistrates' court. Sometimes courts have to be courageous in adopting individual approaches to such matters to meet the facts of particular cases, even if some decisions fall outside the parameters of what observers might normally expect to happen in cases of a particular type."
With these passages in the judgments of Latham LJ and McCombe J, I respectfully agree.