The Jack Grealish assault and sentence
By Boyce & Co., Mar 12 2019 02:31PM
Paul Mitchell was dealt with swiftly by the Criminal Justice system. More swiftly than the unfortunate steward who did his best to catch up with him before the attack but looked like he was wading in treacle.
Arrested immediately after the cowardly attack he was interviewed and charged with offences of battery under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (maximum sentence 26 weeks) and going onto the playing area under the Football (Offences) Act 1991 (maximum sentence being a fine). Mitchell was then held in custody overnight by the police appearing the next day before Birmingham Magistrates’ Court where he pleaded guilty and was sent to prison for 16 weeks for the battery. He was also ordered to pay £100 in compensation to Mr Grealish and has to pay a £115 victim surcharge and £135 in prosecution costs. Finally he was also handed a 10-year football banning order by the court.
So why 16 weeks? Last night I listened to BBC pundit Ian Wright suggesting he should have received a much stiffer sentence. The Court were, however, required by law to give credit for a guilty plea of one third already reducing the effective maximum to about 17 weeks. The Courts give a discount for a plea to encourage those that are guilty to plead guilty – or so the story goes – of course it helps by not clogging up the system with trials. So Mr Mitchell received nearly the maximum allowed.
The Magistrates have to take into account sentencing guidelines. I have only read what has been reported in the press as criminal proceedings in Magistrate’s Courts are neither recorded nor reported. The magistrate who passed sentence is reported as saying that the Court went outside their guidelines in the interests of justice – presumably as a deterrent to others and to reflect the risk of public disorder.
In times past the Court would have adjourned for a pre-sentence report from the probation service – now this is often done on the day.
Sentencing is complicated and a layman has little chance of being able to understand how the system works. If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being interviewed by the police I suggest you always have a solicitor. It is free. Sometimes what is said in interview can have a significant impact on the sentence imposed.