Suspended jail sentence for man who armed himself with metal bar

Tuesday 19th July 2022 6:00 am
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A MAN who armed himself with a metal bar when he went in search of another man whom he believed had stabbed a friend outside a Cinderford pub has avoided jail.

Jake Edwards, 27, of Cedardean, Cinderford, was found guilty by a jury at Gloucester Crown Court in May of aggravated burglary with intent to do grievous bodily harm. Three other men accused of joining in his alleged ‘revenge’ mission were cleared by the same jury.

The judge told Edwards he was taking “an exceptional course of action” in giving him a suspended sentence.

The incident began at about midnight on August 3-4 2019 when Callam Green was slashed on the arm outside the Fern Ticket pub in Cinderford High Street - allegedly by a man known to locals as Paul Harris, who has since gone on the run and is believed to be in Argentina.

Prosecutor Fiona Elder alleged that a group of men went looking for Mr Harris, who they believed had gone to a nearby block of flats where his mother Anastasia lives.

All four men visited the flats and knocked on the door of another relative of Mr Harris but then left after a heated confrontation.

Edwards returned to a neighbouring flat where Harris had gone and threatened him and the occupant, Antje Boehm.

The jury acquitted all except Edwards guilty of aggravated burglary with intent to do grievous bodily harm to Paul Harris with a metal weapon.

At the sentencing hearing on Tuesday, July 5, Nicholas Sefton, defending Edwards, said: “Nothing was stolen in the burglary and the weapon wasn’t used in anger. Mr Edwards’ lack of maturity was evident during the trial.

“He has been taking steps to sort his life out since this incident. He has not troubled the police or the courts in the past three years.

“He is presently caring for his father, who is undergoing treatment for cancer. The family run a small business and both father and son are the only ones able to operate a bespoke piece of machinery.

“Edwards has also helped the prosecution in giving evidence against Paul Harris – who we all know is still on the run somewhere in South America - for the original incident when he is alleged to have stabbed Callum Green.

“Clearly my client’s offence crosses the custody threshold but I believe there are alternatives to an immediate prison sentence.”

Judge Ian Lawrie QC said it was an unusual case and he was taking an exceptional course of action in sentencing Edwards.

The judge told Edwards: “Paul Harris, the man alleged to have stabbed Mr Green, is currently on the run in Argentina. He has not faced justice because of his absence.

“However, as you were prepared to give evidence and turned up for Mr Harris’ trial, at which we discovered that he had run off on his toes, I feel there are alternatives to an immediate prison sentence.

“In the three years since this offence you have behaved yourself and kept out of trouble and have started working for a living.

“However you chose to go back to the premises with a weapon, having originally left with the other men when you went looking for Paul Harris.

You didn’t gain proper entry to the property, despite being extremely drunk and making abusive remarks and threats.

“I take this view that you were fired up when you made the return visit, but having read a lot about you I believe you have started to turn your life around, which means I can suspend your prison sentence.”

The judge sentenced Edwards to a two year jail term, suspended for two year and ordered him to undertake 300 hours of unpaid work and attend 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and attend monthly judicial reviews.

The judge also ordered Edwards to pay £500 compensation for criminal damage to the doors of the neighbouring property and £1,000 to Ms Boehm.

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