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Sentences slashed for two men who attacked young Coventry student.

Byline: SIMON GILBERT Chief Reporter

TWO men who part of a gang which launched a savage attack on a Coventry student, leaving him with brain damage, have had their sentences slashed.

Jagjeet Sandhu, then 21, was in his third year at Nottingham Trent Uni when he was set upon and battered senseless by a gang of four men.

Mr Sandhu was left fighting for his life and was forced to have emergency surgery to release pressure on his brain.

But a Court of Appeal judge has now more than halved the sentences of the lead protagonists after new medical evidence came to light.

Sakhib Choudhry, 24, of Manchester, and Addil Hussain, 23, of Slough, were convicted of GBH with intent and jailed for 12 and 10 years respectively.

Fellow student Iqhlas Arishad, 26, of Stoke, and his cousin, Haidar Mahmood, 25, of Derby, got four years each for unintentional GBH.

But, after an appeal, Choudhry and Hussain saw their convictions downgraded to GBH without intent and their sentences cut to only four years each.

However, Arishad and Mahmood saw appeals against their sentences rejected after a judge said "they were all in it together".

The decision, by three judges in London, means the men will serve only two years before release on licence for an attack which caused lasting injury.

The court heard the attack arose out of an altercation between Mr Sandhu and Hussain in Nottingham's Oceana nightclub in April 2015.

They were ejected from the club at different times, but the four men then waited to hunt down Mr Sandhu.

When he appeared, he was chased down and attacked by all four men in full glare of CCTV cameras.

Hussain punched him, before being joined in the attack by Arishad, of Bank House Gardens, Stoke, who also struck a few blows.

His cousin, lawyer Mahmood, of Osmaston Road, Derby, arrived and also threw punches.

One of the blows was said to be "colossal", sending Mr Sandhu crashing to the ground, where he struck his head on the floor.

Hussain, of Goodman Park, Slough, punched him again, then Choudhry, of Ringley Drive, Whitefield, Manchester, arrived and stamped on him at least three times.

The four men then made their escape, leaving Mr Sandhu unconscious, before meeting up again at Arishad's student flat a short time later.

Lord Justice Davis said the attack had serious consequences for Mr Sandhu, as revealed in a "moving" statement from his father.

The family had believed their son was going to die as surgeons cut into his skull and also performed a tracheostomy, he said.

"He was in hospital for three months, then had to be moved to Coventry to receive ongoing care closer to his family home," he continued.

"Fortunately, perhaps remarkably, he has made good progress physically, but the position is that he is likely to suffer some permanent brain damage."

The case reached court as Choudhry and Hussain appealed against their convictions for the more serious intentional GBH offences.

Downgrading the convictions, the appeal judge said the new medical evidence was agreed by the prosecution and was "highly relevant" to the defence.

It cast doubt on how the most serious injuries were caused and the issue of whether either man truly "intended" serious harm.

Lord Justice Davis said fresh medical evidence cast doubt on how Mr Sandhu's most serious injuries were caused.

"In such circumstances, this court must set aside the convictions," he said, reducing Hussain's and Choudhry's to the much less serious unintentional GBH.

The judge imposed four-year terms in place of the 12 and 10-year sentences of Choudhry and Hussain, but rejected appeals by the others against their own fouryear sentences. "There clearly was here premeditation which was significant, whereby the group clearly were waiting for Mr Sandhu to come out and to take retribution," said the judge. He continued: "These were young men of impeccable character. They had positive attributes. They all seem to come from strong and supportive families."

But he added: "They were all in it together."

The appeals by Hussain and Choudhry against conviction were allowed, their convictions downgraded to unintentional GBH and their sentences cut to four years.

Appeals by Arishad and Mahmood against their four-year terms for unintentional GBH were rejected.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 24, 2017
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