Pair who forced their Muslim colleague to eat bacon lose appeal

A Kingstanding man who subjected his “vulnerable” Muslim colleague to a 10-month bullying campaign saw his appeal against a jail sentence for racially aggravated harassment thrown out by the Appeal Court this week.

Sean Martin Melaney, 29, of Streatham Grove, along with two other road maintenance workers, admitted to harassing colleague Amjid Mehmood. All four worked for a road maintenance firm in Walsall. The three were each sentenced at Wolverhampton Crown Court in April to three-years imprisonment.

The workmates had bullied Mr Mehmood by:

 ■ Pulling his trousers down and exposing him to passing motorists while working on the M6.

■ Force-feeding Mr Mehmood bacon, which it is against his religious beliefs to eat.

■ Dropping him off in Lozells at the time of the Asian/Afro-Carribean race riots in 2005 and then driving off, telling him the residents would come and get him.

■ Tied Mr Mehmood to railings with duct tape, stripping him and dousing his clothing in dirty water.

Despite the Crown Court’s findings Melaney and Lee Paul McDermott, 31, of Blue Stone Walk, Rowley Regis, appealed the three-year jail term.

Mr Justice Pitchford, sitting in the criminal appeal court with Lady Justice Hallett and Judge Nicholas Cooke QC, said the conduct of the pair had been “appalling”.

Refusing the appeal he said Mr Mehmood was: “A man who was vulnerable in his workplace, by virtue of his personal qualities, his minority race and in the troubled times in which he was living. We have considered the matter of these men’s conduct, its persistence over a prolonged period and its traumatic effect on their victim. We conclude that the sentences were both principled and appropriate.”

Sutton Coldfield Observer, 10 October 2008