From The Telegraph (UK):
The four defendants shouted “kill the white slag” as they attacked Rhea Page after dragging her to the ground.
Ambaro Maxamed, 24, her sisters Ayan, 28, and Hibo, 24, and their cousin Ifrah Nur, 28, faced up to five years in jail after admitting causing actual bodily harm.
But Judge Robert Brown gave them six-month suspended sentences after deciding that the attack in Leicester city centre was not racially motivated.
He heard in mitigation that the four were not used to alcohol because their religion [Islam] does not allow it….
James Bide-Thomas, prosecuting, said Ambaro Maxamed called Miss Page a “white bitch” and grabbed her hair, making her fall.
Ms Page said her assailants screamed ‘kill the white slag’ while kicking her in the head as her boyfriend Lewis Moore, 23, tried to fight them off after a night out in Leicester in June last year.
‘They were taking turns to kick me. I was lying on the ground the whole time, crying and screaming. It was terrifying. I thought they were going to kill me.’
She suffered bruises and grazes to her head, back, legs and arms, and had clumps of hair pulled out, Leicester crown court heard.
It’s always hard to evaluate such cases based on press accounts, but if the story is accurate and sufficiently complete, the sentence — and the conclusion of lack of racial motivation — strikes me as unsound. (I don’t believe that sentences should generally be enhanced because of racial motivation, but to my knowledge English law, and the law of most American jurisdictions, disagrees with me on that.)
Simply considering whether defendants might have acted in an aberrant way because they were unused to drink might reasonably be relevant at the sentencing phase. Judges can plausibly consider whether defendants’ s behavior was a truly out of character for them, even if the precipitating cause (e.g., an unusual for them bout of drinking) was their own fault; that doesn’t excuse the crime, but it may bear on whether to sentence the person to a longer term or a shorter one. And when one is deciding whether the defendants were indeed unused to drink and on a rare bout of drinking, evidence of their religion might help support such a claim as a factual matter. But criminals who acts the way the defendants apparently acted (assuming the victim’s account is accurate) strike me as meriting a considerably more serious sentence even if they were acting in a rare moment of drunkenness.
Thanks to Ken Braithwaite for the pointer.