Gazza fined for Common Assault

Gazza fined for Common Assault

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Paul Gascoigne was sentenced on 5th August 2013 at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court to a fine of £1,000 for an offence of Common Assault (punching a railway security guard) and being Drunk and Disorderly.

On 4th July this year he was on a train back to London from Newcastle when he alighted at Stevenage in a highly intoxicated state. A security guard, Jack Sherington, approached him to offer him some help (as he appeared to be staggering towards the tracks. With some colleagues, he put Mr Gascoigne into a wheelchair, at which point the ex-football star became aggressive, grabbing Mr Sherington around the neck for a few seconds.

Mr Gascoigne also had to pay £100 compensation to Mr Sherington. There would also have been a victim surcharge in the same amount, as well as (possibly) costs.

So, did Gazza get an easy ride due to his celebrity status, or did he get a pass from a footballer-friendly bench? The starting point is the Sentencing Guidelines (page 24 for Common Assault). Given that there was no injury, it is a ‘lesser harm’ case. As is often the case, it is hard to say what the ‘culpability’ is, but would appear to be ‘lower culpability’ (due to the impromptu nature of the attack.

This would give a starting point of a fine (which was, of course, what was imposed). To that extent, it seems that Mr Gascoigne was treated as a ‘normal’ member of the public (as, of course, he should be).

 

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Dan is a barrister at 2 Dr. Johnson’s Buildings practising in crime.

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  1. Gazza appears to have relapsed into alcoholism again. Most recidivist alcoholics coming before the bench are put on compulsory courses to try to address their alcohol problem, and their previous record in this respect is taken in to account. The bench may have taken the view that he is a hopeless case, but simply fining him does nothing to stop him doing it again, and some form of rehabilitation would have been better, and normal for a normal alcoholic.

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