The decision by a judge to uphold a harsher sentence for a child abuser owing to his victims being Asian has been criticised by children’s charity the NSPCC, who said justice should operate on a “level playing field”.
Jamal Muhammed Raheem Ul Nasir was jailed for seven years at Leeds Crown Court in December after he was found guilty of abusing two girls, aged nine and 14, in Bradford. At the time, Judge Sally Cahill QC said that the fact the victims were Asian had been factored in as an “aggravating feature” when passing sentence. The decision was upheld at London’s Criminal Appeal Court.
An NSPCC spokesman said: “British justice should operate on a level playing field and children need to be protected irrespective of cultural differences. Regardless of race, religion, or gender, every child deserves the right to be safe and protected from sexual abuse, and the courts must reflect this. It is vital that those who commit these hideous crimes are punished to the full limit of the law.”
Jasvinder Sanghera, chief executive of Karma Nirvana, a Leeds-based national charity which works with the survivors of honour based abuse, said the judgement provided “an injustice” to other victims of similar sexual abuse that are not from a South Asian community.
She said: “We feel that the ‘shame’ factor highlighted in this case is a prevalent and common feature for all victims of sexual abuse.
“We feel strongly that the judge should not be considering the marriageability prospects of the victims as a result of this abuse.”
Conservative MP for Shipley, Philip Davies, who called his actions an “absolute disgrace”.
Davies said: “To suggest that to sexually abuse Asian girls is more serious than sexually abusing white girls is completely unacceptable.
“One has to wonder from where they manage to dig up these politically correct judges.
“The principle that everyone is equal before the law – once the cornerstone of British justice - appears to have been thrown out of the window.”