A JUDGE warned a man who threatened a firefighter with a Samurai sword to ‘be more tolerant’ in future or he will end up in jail.
Mohammed Shafi, 34, appeared at Leeds Crown Court yesterday but was spared jail for the incident when he swung a decorative Samurai sword at a Huddersfield firefighter in a ‘figure of eight’.
The court, heard during the trial last month that Shafi himself phoned 999 after he wrongly believed firefighters were damaging the fence to his flat in Rifle Fields, Water Street, in Springwood.
But Huddersfield’s Red Watch were actually trying to locate a rubbish fire near his property when he started arguing with firefighters before entering his flat and returning with the weapon on May 6 this year.
Shafi was found guilty at trial of affray and carrying a bladed or pointed article.
He was sentenced to 51 weeks in custody, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work in the community.
The sentence was welcomed by West Yorkshire Fire Service which reinforces their ‘zero tolerance’ to violence.
Judge James Spencer said: “Anybody who threatens other people, particularly public servants, as he clearly did, has to be marked by a prison sentence.
“This is a serious matter.”
He told the defendant: “Be more tolerant. If you do it again, you will go away.”
Earlier in the brief sentencing hearing prosecutor Stephen Brown asked Judge Spencer if he wanted him to outline the case, but the judge who also oversaw the trial, recalled: “He threatened a firemen trying to discover where a fire was. He thought they had caused some damage to a gate.
“It culminated in him losing his temper with a decorative Samurai sword and swinging it about.”
Defending Shafi, Ms Mushtaq Erimnaz told the court her client was unemployed but doing voluntary work, which he hoped would lead to a permanent position.
Judge Spencer added: “Unpaid work is a requirement, it’s not an option. It’s a simple decision for you to make.
“Now don’t you come back.”
He granted the prosecution’s request forfeiture of the decorative Samurai sword and five others, which Shaffi had in the property.
Keith Robinson, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Kirklees District Commander, said: “West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service takes all violence towards its staff seriously and we will endeavour to pursue prosecutions where possible.
“Our firefighters work hard 24 hours a day, often putting their own lives at risk, to serve and protect the people of West Yorkshire and we have a zero tolerance policy towards any kind of violence or abuse shown towards them.
“We welcome this sentence and hope that it serves as a deterrent to others.”