Sentence slashed for West Ham knife man

�A West Ham man who was jailed after he was caught with a vicious looking combat knife as the London Riots came to a close had his sentence cut after top judges heard his offences had nothing to do with the disorder.

Rajab Ali, 33, of Dirleton Road, was jailed for two years at Wood Green Crown Court in November for possessing an offensive weapon and a bladed article in public.

He appealed, claiming the Crown Court judge was wrong to say the offences were more serious because of what was going on elsewhere, and had his sentence cut to 18 months.

Lord Justice Rix told the Court of Appeal that Ali was caught when police driving around in a van on the evening of August 10 last year decided to search his car.

They found a kitchen knife with a 10 inch blade and a combat knife with five inch blade and knuckle-duster type handle in the door pocket.

Ali claimed both knives were to be used to cut up meat at a barbecue.

Sentencing him, the Crown Court judge said the fact that the weapons were on the streets at a time of disorder meant the offences were more serious.

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His lawyers last week argued that the judge had made a mistake in saying that, because prosecutors had specifically said Ali had nothing to do with the riots.

Allowing the appeal, Lord Justice Rix, sitting with Mr Justice Haddon-Cave and Mr Justice Griffith Williams, said the judge was wrong to attach the offences to the general disorder.

“We consider that it would be unfair to this appellant not to take account of the error which had occurred,” the appeal judge said.

“If it had been known that the riots were to be held against the appellant as an offender in this case and linked to those offences, then it may be that evidence could have been adduced which would have put the position in a different light.”

“We therefore consider that we need to make some adjustment to the sentence in light of the error that has transpired.”

The sentence was cut to 18 months.