Oompa Loompa freed on appeal

Oompa Loompa freed on appeal

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We previously covered the case of Louis Gelinas and Matthew Wright who admitted causing an affray in Norwich town centre whilst dressed as Oompa Loompas (hopefully they got a change of clothes before being produced at Court for their first appearance).

Mr Gelinas was later sentenced to a Community Order, but the unfortunate Mr Wright was sentenced to 10 months youth custody. The attack appeared to have been triggered by what the victims were wearing (which was noted as being somewhat ironic by the prosecutor).

But good news came for Mr Wright on 3rd December 2013. His appeal against the sentence was allowed and the sentence reduced to 4 months. Due to the passage of time since the sentence, he was released from the Court of Appeal.

We do not have the judgment, but it actually sounds like it could have some interesting elements in it (over and above the obvious). The Court of Appeal accepted that “the incident was not part of a “significant local problem”. This was mentioned because of the sentencing judge’s  “decision to pass a deterrent sentence, on the basis that the brawl was typical of “a local problem which required a local solution“.

A Judge is entitled to go above the guidelines because of a specific set of problems in the local area, and the Court will generally not go behind the view of a judge who, after all, has that local knowledge. Here, it seems on the face of it that the Court of Appeal was correct in saying that this sort of violence is not normal for Norfolk but not tolerated elsewhere. Leaving aside the obvious factor of the defendant’s attire.

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

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