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Should sex attackers who target ethnic minority children be given tougher sentences?

Victims of child sex crimes from ethnic minority backgrounds suffer more than their white counterparts and their attackers should accordingly be punished more severely, a judge at the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Mr Justice Walker said today that British-Bangladeshi Jamal Muhammed Raheem Ul Nasir was handed a longer sentence because his victims were of Asian origin.
Justice Walker made the comments after Ul Nasir, who was jailed for seven years for assaulting two underage girls, appealed for a lesser sentence.

Ul Nasir, 32, had been convicted of two counts of sexual assault on a child under 13 and four counts of sexual activity with a child.

The judge who originally jailed him, Sally Cahill QC, had also cited the fact that Ul Nasir’s victims were Asian as a factor in determining his sentence.

Ms Cahill explained that Ul Nasir’s victims had suffered “particular shame” because of how their ordeal would be perceived by their communities.

Lawyers for Ul Nasir, 32, from West Yorkshire, argued at the criminal appeal court in London this month that his sentence had been unfairly severe.

Their complaints, however, were rejected by Justice Walker, who said: “The victims’ fathers were concerned about the future marriage prospects for their daughters.

“Judge Cahill was having particular regard to the harm caused to the victims by this offending.  That harm was aggravated by the impact on the victims and their families within this particular community.”

According to legal experts, judges are required to take into account the seriousness of the psychological and physical harm suffered by victims when perpetrators are sentenced.

Sentencing guidelines however, make no mention of community or cultural considerations.

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