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Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Racist 'deserved time spent in jail' (UK)

A racist who launched a tirade of "utterly abhorrent" abuse at two reporters posing as a married Asian couple for a TV documentary has been told he deserved every day of his jail term.

Sean Ganderton, 23, "bullied and threatened" journalists Amil Khan and Tamanna Rahman as they went undercover in Southmead to film an episode of the BBC's Panorama programme.

Ganderton was jailed for two years at Bristol Crown Court in May after admitting racially aggravated harassment.

Yesterday the 23-year-old, who lived in Trowbridge Road, Southmead, before he was jailed, tried to challenge his sentence at London's Criminal Appeal Court, with lawyers arguing it was "too long" for his crime. But the appeal was dismissed by three judges, who said the sentence was "not excessive".

Mr Justice Lloyd Jones, sitting with Lord Justice Leveson and Mr Justice King, told the court the reporters who went to live in Ringwood Crescent between June and August last year secretly filmed material for the programme, entitled Panorama Undercover: Hate on the Doorstep, which was broadcast last October.

During that time, they were subjected to a barrage of racial insults, abuse and threatening behaviour from Ganderton and others.

The court heard on one occasion, Ganderton told Mr Khan he should be walking in the road, because then it would be "bye bye Paki", and punched him in the head.

Miss Rahman was also subjected to abuse, followed in the street and Ganderton threatened to cut her throat.

In a victim impact statement which was read to the court, she said she found the experience "distressing" and was stunned that Ganderton and others seemed to find it "amusing". She also said she "felt sorry" for other people who might have to face the same kind of treatment.

Sentencing him at Bristol Crown Court in June, Judge Michael Roach said Ganderton's behaviour was "utterly abhorrent", and that he had "bullied and threatened" the victims in a "cowardly way".

His lawyers argued his jail term was too long, saying the judge did not take enough account of the fact it was his first offence, his admission of guilt, or the fact he was of "low intelligence".

But, dismissing the appeal, Mr Justice Lloyd Jones said the sentence was "not even arguably excessive" for a crime of this nature.

Another man, 18-year-old Martin Durnell, of Ringwood Crescent, was sentenced to 21 months' youth custody alongside Ganderton in June. He was not before the court to appeal against his sentence yesterday.

This is Bristol