A judge is to write to the Chief Constable of the British Transport Police to ask why two white youths who started a brawl with a group of Asians on a train between St Albans and Harpenden are not being prosecuted.
Judge Michael Kay QC was speaking after jailing one Asian youth and giving suspended sentences to two others, who claimed they had been subjected to racial abuse.
St Albans Crown Court heard on Wednesday, December 16 that Uzair Sabir, 22, Daud Javid, 23, and Abdul Saquiib, 19, boarded the northbound train at St Albans station to go home to Luton in the early hours of the morning on January 25 this year.
CCTV from the carriage, played to the court by prosecutor John Carmichael, showed Sabir walking past a group of four to five young white males. He turned back and remonstrated with them, later saying he had been called a “f…… P…”
The footage showed that a member of the white group was the first to throw a punch before Sabir and Javid, who had initially been a peace-maker, started fighting them. “Words were exchanged and violence erupted,” said Mr Carmichael.
Two brave passengers – Mary Newman and Oscar Ulander – intervened at that stage to keep the sides apart. At one point Ms Newman had her glasses knocked off.
In a statement Ms Newman said Sabir had asked the group: “What did you say to me?” She said the situation then escalated. When her glasses came off she said one of the Asians apologised and put them back on her face.
When the train stopped at the next station, Harpenden, the Asian youths left and trouble broke out again.
Saquiib, who had been sleeping on the train, “gratuitously kicked” a white youth as he lay on the ground. He suffered a broken nose, but made no statement to the police. The others also kicked him, said Mr Carmichael.
Sabir, of Chandos Road, Luton, Saquiib, of Claremont Road, Luton and Javid of Beresford Road, Luton appeared for sentence on December 16 having pleaded guilty to affray last month.
Saquiib, the only defendant with previous convictions, had also pleaded guilty to possessing a small amount of cocaine and cannabis.
Last month Judge Kay had asked the prosecution to explain why no action was taken against at least two of the group of white youths. Mr Carmichael said: “I have raised the issue with the CPS who passed it to the police for further investigation. The view of those responsible is that there is insufficient grounds to investigate the circumstances further. “
For Sabir, Mark Tomassi said: “There had been racial taunting; rude, racist and repeated and utterly vile. Someone older and wiser might have just ignored it.
He said the Asian group decided to get off the train at Harpenden to distance themselves from the others, adding: “Justice is not being represented here. Those who have caused this affray are not before the court.”
Darryl Cherrett, for Saquiib, said he acknowledged his behaviour had been shameful, saying he accepted he completely lost control.
Javid was said to have acted in excessive self-defence and had been concussed from a punch he took on the train.
The judge sentenced Sqauiib to 8 months’ custody. Sabir and Javid were each given 8 months’ jail suspended for 18 months with a four month curfew and 23 rehabilitation days.
The judge said: “This was a serious affray. Brawls and fights on streets, in pubs, clubs on trains and on platforms frighten and distress members of the public. It degrades public life.”
He went on: “There was a significant degree of provocation. It seems plain something was said. The defendants say it was a vile racist slur.
“Slurs like that are disgusting and make all of us angry, but nothing good will come from getting involved in violence.”
Referring to the decision not to take action against at least two of the white youths, the judge said: “I am profoundly disturbed and concerned about the view the police took.
“I cannot see why there are not at least two other defendants in this case.
“I will be inquiring into the decision-making process in this case.”