You-tuber Alex Bellfield was sentenced yesterday to 5 and half years in prison for several counts of harassment. The sentencing remarks of Mr Justice Saini, who practiced from Blackstone Chambers, can be read HERE.
My initial reaction without knowing the full facts of the case, but knowing that it concerned internet-based harassment, was one of shock, at the length of the sentence.
Further, I was surprised that the sentences were consecutive and not concurrent. The guidelines on consecutive and concurrent sentences can be found HERE. There is no inflexible approach that the Courts will adopt in deciding whether to impose a concurrent or a consecutive sentence. My reading of the guidelines is that a series of similar offences against different individuals can either attract a concurrent or a consecutive sentence and the latter will apply, where the overall criminality will not be sufficiently reflected by concurrent sentencing.
Mr Bellfield had permission to make videos from the Court transcripts of the proceedings and a link to his You-tube channel is HERE . I do not know how accurate these videos are, but it is interesting to hear his take on the proceedings and the underlying facts.
At the time of writing, I have not been able to find sentences passed by the same judge for comparable cases. I note that he sentenced the murderer of a baby to 20 years in prison, see HERE.
In the case of Jeremy Vine, it does not appear that Mr Bellfield contacted him directly, as opposed to making videos about him and encouraging others to call Mr Vine’s show. I do not know what he specifically invited his audience to say to Mr Vine, other than to repeat the allegation referred to in the sentencing remarks.
Reading the facts of the case did not change my view that the sentence seemed to be extremely harsh.