How Could Justice be Dispensed Otherwise?
The Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal against sentence recently in the case of Jamal Ul Nasir. He received a sentence of 7 years for a series of sexual assaults against two girls within his Bradford Community. The sentencing Judge HHJ Cahill found as an aggravating feature that the suffering is worse for them because of the particular shame the victims and their families will undergo within their community. The Judge further found their future prospects of being a good catch for arranged marriages were damages because of their defilement.
Does this imply that if had abused girls from other communities, the sentence would have been lighter?
Sentencing Sexual Offences
Within the last two decades legislation has been passed to create separate offences, with increased maximum sentences, for crimes that were aggravated by the victims race or religion. However this reflects the culpability of the accused rather than the effect on the victim.
The effect on a victim must be an important component of Justice, but is this distinction, upheld by the Court of Appeal ,bordering on racism? What would have been the outcome if Jamal Ul Nasir instead of assaulting two girls of Asian descent, abused one white British girl and one Asian British girl in exactly the same way. Would he have received 7 years for one and 5 years for the other. That is what this Judgment implies. That cannot be justice.
And what do the Asian community make of this Judgment. Do they welcome this recognition or do they feel uncomfortable that they are distinguished in this way. That their children are provided extra protection? Personally I’d feel uncomfortable.
Perhaps the statute of Lady Justice that we are familiar with, sword in one hand, scales in the other needs re modelling. Perhaps her blindfold needs to be removed?
Max Saffman – Criminal Defence Lawyer
Written by Max Saffman. Max is a Higher Court Advocate and specialist criminal defence solicitor. He specialises in defending allegations of serious crime including offences of violence, sexual offences, and drugs conspiracies with notable success in recent years.