Friday, June 24, 2016

British justice at work: A serial sex offender who attacked his victim in her own bed is jailed for LESS time than a farmer sentenced in the same court who claimed his eggs were 'free range'

A victims' support group has blasted the justice system after a farmer selling barn eggs as 'free-range' was jailed for longer than a serial sex offender in the same court.

Widower Anthony Clarkson, 59, was hauled before Preston Crown Court this week after being convicted of fraudulently marketing the barn eggs as free-range.

On Monday he was jailed for two-and-a-half years after evidence from the egg standard inspectors from the Animal Plant Health Authority (APHA).

In the same court on Wednesday, serial sex offender Kerdine Ahmedi, 46, was jailed for two months less than the farmer despite admitting sexually assaulting a terrified woman.

In a victim personal statement, the unnamed woman - who sobbed in the public gallery during the sentencing hearing - said the attack had destroyed her life.

The court heard Ahmedi has a previous conviction for indecent exposure and breached his sexual offences prevention order on five separate occasions since it was made in 2011.

The disparity in the sentences has been criticised by solicitor Rachel Horman, a board director at Safenet, which runs women's refuges. She said: 'It seems that financial crimes or fraud are treated more seriously than violent crimes against women. 'This kind of situation sends out the wrong message to perpetrators and victims of violence. Sadly this happens quite a lot.

'I have seen domestic violence cases where in order to get that kind of sentence, the perpetrator could have attempted murder.

'I deal with serious cases of violence against women where the defendant doesn't get a penalty anywhere near this.

'It's not just an overhaul of sentencing guidelines that is needed - often there are powers there to impose a heavier sentence which people do not use. It's a change in attitude.'

Clarkson was prosecuted after claiming free range eggs had been produced at his farm in Whittingham, near Preston, when they were in fact barn eggs he bought in from another of his firms.

He operated a farm producing 'free-range eggs' and had an interest in another farm producing cheaper 'barn eggs'. He stamped both type of eggs with code indicating they were free range.

He was convicted of fraud by dishonestly making a false representation after a probe was launched by egg inspectors in 2014.

At his sentence hearing, his defence barrister Michael Maher said he appreciated it was a food fraud but remarked: 'It's not horse meat masquerading as fillet steak.'

A spokesman for Animal Plant Health Authority (APHA) defended the sentence saying it sends out a 'tough warning to food fraudsters.'

Sex offender Ahmedi forced himself on a woman who he knew the woman was drunk and feeling unwell, Preston Crown Court heard.

The woman's boyfriend had passed out at the kitchen table after drinking vodka which he feared may have been spiked.

She woke to feel a man behind her but when she realised it was not her boyfriend she tried to get away, as Ahmedi made sexual comments.

As she tried to get out of bed, Ahmedi put his arm around her waist and attacked her. Unable to wake her boyfriend, the woman went to a friend's house and told her she had been assaulted.  She reported the attack the following day and Ahmedi, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to sexual assault.

The Recorder of Preston, Judge Mark Brown, said when sentencing: 'She made it clear at the very start that she wasn't interested and wanted you to stop immediately.  'However you continued. That must have been a very frightening and distressing experience for her. Your victim is present in court. She is obviously extremely distressed by what occurred to her.'

Original report here

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