Robert Warner jailed for causing death of Ryaheen Banimuslem

Robert Warner jailed for causing death of Ryaheen Banimuslem

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robert warner

Facts

Robert Warner was a caretaker in Sheffield. In 14th June 2012 he was called to a block of flats to deal with a piece of glass that had been broken. He removed that but (seemingly because he was overworked) forgot to board up the panel until the glass had been replaced.

Tragically, a two year girl – Ryaheen Banimuslem, was playing with her brother on the fourth floor where the glass had smashed, and fell through the gap to the ground. She died in hospital on 27th June 2012.

Mr Warner was charged with gross negligence manslaughter. After a three week trial, he was convicted by a jury on a majority (10-2).

Sentence

Mr Warner was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment. We have the sentencing remarks that set out why. The Judge acknowledged that this was not a deliberate act by Mr Warner, and must be seen against a backdrop of Mr Warner being a “hard working, helpful and conscientious caretaker, who took pride in your work” of a very good character.

Notwithstanding that, the Judge held that the culpability was high and the danger that was created was obvious, with devastating consequences. The Judge said that there was little guidance in other cases, but a substantial prison sentence was inevitable.

Comment

These sorts of cases are extremely difficult to sentence. The consequences of the defendant’s act were horrendous – a child died. On the other hand, there was no intention to cause anyone any harm and one can imagine that Mr Warner was mortified by what had happened, and he will have to live forever with the knowledge that he had cause a young girls death.

We would expect an appeal because these cases are so fact specific. We would have thought a sentence more in the order of about 2 years would have been more likely, but the Judge heard all of the facts and it may be that the Court of Appeal would defer to that. Having said that, this is the sort of case where the Court of Appeal is more inclined to step in and lower a sentence.

Photograph from the Sheffield Star
Photograph from the Sheffield Star
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Dan is a barrister at 2 Dr. Johnson’s Buildings practising in crime.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Dan I am writing an essay for entry to Oxford Univ. HRights post grad course and I was going to write about the current custom of charging of manslaughter in cases where the fault is arguably an issue and the sentencing is becoming excessive. It’s a start as many of these decisions seem like they should be looked at with a critical eye and not just by the Court of Appeal in individual cases.

  2. Notably, not convicted of manslaughter are whoever vandalised the panels, and whichever body, public or private, employed him and slashed his hours.

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