A 17-year-old convicted of a city centre stabbing will now be locked up after the Court of Appeal today ruled his previous non-custodial sentence was too lenient.
Witnesses described people screaming in panic as the defendant was swinging and thrusting the knife toward the victim, who suffered a cut to his arm that needed four stitches.
The teenager – who cannot be named for legal reasons – was today (Friday 26 July) given 18 months in custody in a Young Offenders’ Institution following the attack on a man in broad daylight in Trinity Square on March 8 this year.
He had previously been sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court in May to 240 hours of unpaid work, an 18-month supervision requirement and a range of other conditions including a six-month curfew and a ban from entering the city centre or St Ann’s for three months after he pleaded guilty to wounding with intent and possessing a bladed article.
However, Nottinghamshire Police Chief Constable Craig Guildford asked Andrew Baxter, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor, for his professional opinion on the sentencing outcome. Andrew was working on a similar stabbing case in Northampton and compared the sentencing approaches in each matter before concluding the sentence should be referred to a Higher Court.
He therefore referred the sentence to the Attorney General, whose office agreed that the sentence should be referred to the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme.
Chief Constable Craig Guildford said: “Following the sentencing in May, both my officers, myself and the Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor felt exceptionally that a formal review should be sought of the original sentence.
“Nottinghamshire Police treats knife crime seriously, as demonstrated by the fact we have a dedicated Knife Crime Team and have invested in Schools and Early Intervention Officers to work with schoolchildren to try to prevent knife crime from happening in the first place.
“We work proactively all year round to tackle knife crime, as well as supporting the national Operation Sceptre twice a year with targeted activity including a knife amnesty, weapons sweeps and test purchase operations.
“To have a long-term impact on reducing knife crime it is important that the police, the justice system, partner agencies, parents and communities take a stand together. Today’s sentencing decision underlines our collective commitment and sends the right message to those who carry and use knives in Nottinghamshire.”
Andrew Baxter, DCCP, said: “The ability to ask for certain sentences to be reviewed is really important in ensuring people who commit crimes like this face the full force of criminal justice.
“This case involved a significant amount of violence, occurred in broad daylight in front of members of the public, and was committed by a defendant who routinely carried a knife on his person.
“Having carefully considered the approach taken, my view was that the seriousness of what occurred was not reflected in the sentence given, hence my decision to refer this case. This was a horrifying offence that terrified many innocent bystanders.
“Knife crime is sadly too often in the headlines and the CPS is committed to our part in tackling it and reducing the impact it has on our community. Anyone carrying knives, and using them to commit violent offences can expect to be dealt with robustly by the prosecution authorities.
“We will do whatever it takes to ensure the people who commit these offences face the full consequences of their actions.”