We covered the case of Tim Haries, the Fathers 4 Justice activist who was convicted of Criminal Damage to a portrait of the Queen whilst it was in situ at Westminster Abbey. The amount of damage was assessed as £10,000.
Mr Haries was sentenced on 5th February 2014 to six months immediate imprisonment. Fortunately, we have the sentencing remarks. The Judge accepted that the family proceedings had caused Mr Haries ‘real anguish’, but this was no reason to go and spraypaint a portrait. After setting out the features of the case, he concluded that an immediate (but short) sentence was needed.
It has been announced that Mr Haries will be appealing the conviction and sentence. Both, we would imagine, will be rejected. The conviction is straightforward – there was no defence to the charge of Criminal Damage and therefore, provided the Judge did not overstep the mark and direct the jury to convict (which from the news reports it seemed that he did not) then this won’t trouble the Court of Appeal much.
Similarly with the appeal against sentence. It was a deliberate and planned act and it is hard to say therefore that a sentence of immediate imprisonment was not warranted. As to the length? It could have been 4 months, it could have been 9 months, both would probably have been fine. No real complaint can be made against the six months that was passed.