A JUDGE has reduced the prison sentence for a knife-wielding Huddersfield man after hearing how he had been subjected to racial abuse.
Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday that 44-year-old Alfred Caton and his wife had in the past been abused by Carl Hughes and it was following another racially offensive remark that he slashed Mr Hughes across the face with a craft knife outside the Jolly Sailor pub in Dalton last September.
Prosecutor Dave Mackay said Mr Hughes had to have the slash wound stitched and also needed blood transfusions after being admitted to hospital.
Recorder Bernard Gateshill was told that Mr Hughes had been left with a scar as a result of the attack.
Caton, of Warrenside, Deighton, pleaded guilty to a charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent and Recorder Gateshill pointed out that the starting point for such an offence after a trial was five years in prison.
But the judge decided that Caton should only be jailed for two years after taking account of the circumstances surrounding the attack, which he described as out of character.
The court heard that Mr Hughes called the defendant ‘a black bastard’ when he saw him walking along the road near the pub.
"You appreciate, I am sure, that this is a very serious matter for you to use this knife against Mr Hughes in this way and cause him serious harm and some permanent disfigurement," the judge told Caton.
Recorder Gateshill said Caton was entitled a third off his sentence because of his guilty plea and added: "This offence was out of character and I’ve read a number of letters from people who know you well and speak of your good qualities.
"But the most important matter of all is that it is accepted in this case that you were provoked by racist abuse from Mr Hughes.
"It seems to me that is powerful and compelling mitigation in your case, which is quite out of the ordinary and justifies me in reducing the sentence that would otherwise have been appropriate to one substantially less".