Appeal against sentence given to Heacham man’s killer rejected
The father of a West Norfolk man kicked to death in a street fight says his family has been let down by the legal system.
George Jose spoke out after an appeal against the jail sentence given to the killer of his son, Dean, was rejected by the country’s top law officer.
He says the decision has denied his family any form of closure and asked: “Where do I go for justice now?”
Dean, who was 47 and lived in Heacham, died in hospital last September, four days after being fatally injured in a fight in Brentwood, Essex.
His assailant, Nathan Turner, was jailed for five years at Chelmsford Crown Court last month after pleading guilty to manslaughter.
But Mr Jose’s family appealed to the attorney general, Jeremy Wright, for a review, arguing that the sentence handed down was too lenient.
Their plea was backed by North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham, who said it appeared to be well below the expected tariff for an offence of that kind, while Crown Prosecution Service officials also sought a review.
But Mr Wright said he did not believe Appeal Court judges would increase the sentence handed down if it was referred to them.
He said he had taken advice from an independent barrister not previously involved with the case and pointed out prosecutors had accepted Turner’s assertion that he had not intended to cause serious injury to Dean.
He wrote: “The Court of Appeal has made it clear that it will only increase a sentence where the judge has made a gross error.
“Whilst I have no doubt that some other judges may well have decided that a higher sentence was justified, taking into account the aggravating features and the stage at which the defendant pleaded guilty, that is not the test that I have had to apply when deciding whether to refer this sentence to the Court of Appeal.
“I have to be satisfied that I can argue that this was a sentence that no judge could have reasonably passed under the guidelines. I regret to inform you that I do not believe that this test is met.”
But Mr Jose said he felt a deal had been done and the case was still having a devastating impact on the family.
He said: “I can’t sleep. My wife won’t talk about it. All we wanted was closure and a bit of justice. I know they’re not going to change their minds, but I feel we’ve been let down.
“I had to carry his coffin. It should have been him carrying mine. What me and my wife feel, we will take to our graves.”