Last week, a 17-year-old youth, Mardell Pennant, was sentenced to 18 months’ detention and training order in a young offenders’ institute after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of Kamal Raza Butt in a joint enterprise with another youth, against whom charges were dropped.
The murder of the Pakistani man, in July 2005, took place just three days after the London bombings and Kamal was reportedly taunted with the words ‘Taliban’ during the attack. However, police insisted the attack was neither racially nor religiously motivated.
Pennant, who was part of a gang, admitted kicking Kamal in the back of his right leg after he ignored demands from the gang for cigarettes, and then kicking him as he fell to the floor. He pleaded guilty on the basis that he acted in a ‘joint enterprise’ with another 17-year-old youth. The court was told that others had witnessed the second youth deliver a hefty punch to the head. According to witnesses, Kamal fell and hit his head – his eyes already rolling as he crumpled and fell to the pavement. The prosecuting counsel told the court that it was the punch by the second youth that was, in all probability, the fatal blow. Kamal seemed to be unconscious before he hit the ground. However, because witnesses refused to give evidence in court and despite the joint enterprise defence by Pennant, the second youth had charges against him dropped.
The CPS in Nottingham, when contacted by IRR News, could not really explain the anomaly. But did say that the ‘tragic incident’ was ‘the subject of a great deal of analysis and hard work by counsel, the CPS and the police. At the time of charging it was considered that the evidence gave a realistic prospect of conviction for both defendants’. However, following a review of the evidence, it was decided that there was no realistic prospect of a conviction for the other defendant.’