Judge brands sentencing rules 'nonsensical' after he is prevented from giving consecutive jail term

Martin Evans
·3 min read
Judge Anthony Cross QC blasted the rules
Judge Anthony Cross QC blasted the rules

A judge has branded the sentencing laws as “nonsensical” after he was prevented from giving extra jail time to a violent drug dealer who attacked a child the day he was let out of prison.

Martin Davies, 30, was initially jailed for 39 months last January for selling the psychotic substance, Spice, on the streets of Greater Manchester.

After spending several months on remand he became eligible for early release in December.

But within hours of getting out of prison he launched a drug fuelled attack on a 10-year-old boy in an assault said to be “something akin to a horror film”.

Davies was returned to prison to complete the remaining 20 months of his original sentence and when he appeared at Manchester Crown Court, in connection with the assault, the judge, Anthony Cross QC, jailed him for another two years.

But he explained that the current rules meant the fresh sentence could only be applied concurrently rather than tagged on the end.

It means that when Davies has completed the remainder of his original sentence, he will only have an extra four months added on the end rather than the full two years.

Judge Cross said the rules made no sense and warned that the public would be aghast at the fact his hands were tied.

He said: ”The fact that I cannot pass a consecutive sentence is nonsensical, and something is very wrong.

"The public would look on aghast the someone who has just been released from prison for one offence cannot then serve a consecutive sentence for the new offence.

“I have to follow the guideline, but if it were up to me this sentence would not start until September 2022."

The rules, which are contained in section 225 of the sentencing guidelines, state that a court can only impose a concurrent sentence and not a consecutive one where a prisoner has committed an offence while out on licence.

Manchester Crown Court heard how Davies had smoked Spice within hours of getting out of prison and then attacked the boy who he had supposed to be looking after.

Prosecutor Brian Williams said: "The defendant was arrested while still under the influence of spice. He was not interviewed. The victim was taken to A&E and treated for substantial bruising to his face and lacerations to his neck, back, leg and eyelid.

"The defendant is 29 and has many previous convictions. He was released from a 39-month sentence for selling spice on the day of this offence. He has two previous convictions for battery in 2012 and 2016.

"This was a sustained assault by an adult on a child who ended up having to lock himself in the bathroom. This 10-year-old child must have been affected by what was an ordeal for him."

Judge Cross told Davies said the child had been deeply traumatised by the attack.

He said: ”You loaded a crack pipe with Spice, smoked it and then, whilst hallucinating, you set on a defenceless 10-year-old boy. You physically assaulted him in a deranged way, in a scene akin to a horror film.

"This is a child who has suffered serious psychological harm. It is obvious to anyone with any common sense that your actions towards that child would have put them in fear.

“Every type of sentence has been tried in your case from community orders to suspended sentences, but you have failed to respond to them.

"On this occasion you went out and bought spice when your release note setting out the terms and conditions was still in your pocket. You treated it with utter contempt.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “Anyone committing a further offence while on licence must serve the full sentence for that crime.

“Judges may also hand down tougher punishments for any crimes committed while on licence.”