The Court of Appeal has halved the sentence of a convicted neo-Nazi terrorist.
Connor Scothern was convicted earlier this year of membership of the proscribed National Action neo-Nazi terrorist group.
Mr Scothern, who was apparently a practicing Muslim and activist with the extremist anti-fascist group, Antifa, before joining National Action, had been given a sentence of eighteen months in a Young Offenders’ Institution.
As Mr Scothern was aged fifteen and sixteen during his membership of National Action in 2016-17 but nineteen when he was sentenced, his lawyers argued that he would have to serve two-thirds of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole whereas if he were sentenced for the same offence at the age that he committed it, he would have received a youth detention and training order lasting nine months before release under supervision. Accordingly, his eighteen-month sentence – double the sentence that his lawyers said that he ought to have received were he sentenced sooner – “was not only wrong in principle but was also unlawful”.
The Court of Appeal agreed with this reasoning, although the Court dismissed other arguments that factors mitigating the offence were not adequately taken into account at the sentencing. Aside from the particular point of law in the successful argument, “there could have been no criticism of the sentence imposed upon the appellant”.
The judgment, handed down last Friday, quashes the original eighteen-month sentence and replaces it with nine months’ detention in a Young Offenders’ Institution.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has been monitoring and acting against the threat from the far-right for years, continues to urge the Jewish community to remain vigilant and welcomes the seriousness with which the authorities are treating the danger.
Image credit: West Midlands Police