Halifax pub attacker spared jail after charge delays

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Bradford Crown CourtImage source, Phil Champion / Geograph
Image caption,
Judge Jonathan Rose told Bradford Crown Court the defendant was not charged until 17 months after he was questioned

A judg has told a violent attacker he would have gone to jail if police had not taken so long to charge him.

John Gabbitas, 63, was interviewed by police in June 2018 about an assault at Yates in Halifax two months before.

Judge Jonathan Rose told Bradford Crown Court the defendant was not charged until 17 months later.

Gabbitas, of Boyle Street, Halifax, received a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after he admitted wounding with intent.

His victim suffered a broken jaw in the attack, and had to have a metal plate fitted after Gabbitas hit him twice in the face after a "misunderstanding" between the men, the court was told.

'All too common'

Passing sentence, Judge Rose told Gabbitas: "Had I been dealing with you in say June or July 2018 I would have had little hesitation in sending you immediately to custody.

"You would have gone to prison for 12 months and you would have deserved to have gone to prison for 12 months. But we are not in 2018 we are two years on."

The judge has also demanded an explanation from West Yorkshire Police about why it took so long for charges to be brought, saying delays like this were "all too common".

He has asked the force to respond to his request within seven days.

A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Police said: "We are aware of Judge Rose's comments at Bradford Crown Court and will review this case and respond to him in due course."

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