EDL thugs’ appeal against prison sentences dismissed

A South Tyneside man who was jailed after English Defence League supporters stormed a Newcastle club has lost an appeal against his prison sentence.

Colin Burton, 28, was part of a gang which surged into the Tyneside Irish Centre, believing a Socialist Workers Party meeting was taking place. Last month, Burton, of Wouldhave Road, Court, South Shields, was jailed for seven months, and Peter John Duffy, 44, of Elgin Avenue, Seaham, County Durham, was jailed for 10 months after admitting affray.

Yesterday, they appealed to the country’s senior judge, Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, but were told that there was nothing wrong with the sentences. “We are looking at a mob piling into someone’s premises, and intending to pile in because they happened to disagree with a perfectly lawful meeting, which they thought was taking place,” Lord Judge told London’s Court of Appeal.

Lawyers for Duffy and Burton argued that their sentences were too long. No injuries were caused or weapons used in the affray, the court was told. But Lord Judge, sitting with Mr Justice Holman and Mr Justice Openshaw, rejected the arguments and upheld the men’s sentences.

“In our view, this remains a bad piece of offending, where there was potential for very considerable harm and, indeed, personal injury. There was absolutely no justification for it,” said Mr Justice Holman. “In our view, the sentencing judge approached the difficult task with care. He appropriately took into account relevant considerations in relation to each of these appellants. In our view, the sentences were not even arguably manifestly excessive.”

Shields Gazette, 18 January 2012