MP’s fury over assault sentence stance

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

A LAW chief has refused to review the sentence imposed on a man whose single punch left a Wrexham man in a coma despite claims it was too lenient.

Alan Junior Gilmartin, 30, was on licence when he attacked David Morton Thomas at the Temple Bar in Frodsham Street, Chester, on March 19.

Mr Thomas, 38, from Johnstown, was sitting on a bar stool when he was first pushed and then punched by Gilmartin.

His head struck the slate floor which rendered him unconscious.

After initial treatment at the specialist head injuries unit at Liverpool’s Walton Hospital, Mr Thomas is still gravely ill and under 24-hour nursing care at Wrexham Maelor Hospital and being fed through a valve in his stomach.

At a sentencing hearing at Chester Crown Court Gilmartin was sent down for two-and-a-half years for the attack by Judge Nicholas Woodward.

The court was told Gilmartin, of Sycamore Drive, Lache, had a record dating back to 1995, including previous convictions for burglary and a number of violent offences.

He was convicted for burglary in 2006 and in 2009 he was sent to prison for a year for assault.

Earlier this month Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones branded the sentence “a disgrace and a joke” and wrote to Justice Secretary Ken Clarke demanding a top-level probe of the case.

She is enraged by the response she has just received from Attorney General Dominic Grieve MP.

Mr Grieve says in a letter to her: “I have the power, under section 36 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988, to refer to the Court of Appeal a sentence which appears to me to be an unduly lenient sentence.

“Alan Gilmartin pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm under section 20 of the Offences Against the Person Act.

“This is not one of the offences to which the scheme applies and there is therefore no possibility that I can seek to refer the sentence to the Court of Appeal for review.”

Mr Grieve adds he realises Mr Thomas’s family “may remain dissatisfied with the charging decision”.

Susan Elan Jones said: “I am appalled at this letter.

“The Attorney General makes no reference to Gilmartin's long history of violent crime and to why he was out on licence in the first place.

“David Thomas's family have behaved impeccably in this case.

“They are not seeking vengeance, but justice and fairness, and want to know that no-one else will have to suffer what Mr Thomas is going through and may have to go through for the rest of his life.

“This family and the rest of our society have been failed by the British justice system.

“I will be writing to the Attorney General again with further questions, in the hope of getting more sense from him this time."

See full story in the Leader

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