Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC refused to jail a 15-year-old girl after she admitted stabbing her assailant, 56, six years after he walked free from court.
Delivering his comments through the case in 2015, he announced it would be a “disgrace to send a survivor like you to prison”. Instead, he gave her a rehabilitation order and told her not to pay the mandatory victim surcharge, saying, “If anyone tries to force you, I will pay it myself.”
Nevertheless, following the case he was reviewed by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office who stated he was guilty of misconduct, and the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice deemed that this neglected to show even-handedness, and his remark amounted to misconduct.
The judge was given “formal advice”, the lowest kind of discipline the body can give.
The teen stabbed 56-year-old Zabhullah Boota, who sexually violated her when she was eight-years-old, by plunging a blade through his chest.
She carried out the attack on her abuser’s doorstep in 2015, six years after he walked away from court for assaulting her as a child. Boota was given a community order at Bradford Crown Court in November 2010 after he was convicted of sexual assault and influencing a minor under 13 to join in sexual activity.
However, Boota, then 51 and reportedly with an educational age of ten was not jailed, and the teenaged victim felt let down by the justice system after he walked free from court.
The girl, who can’t be named for legal purposes took a kitchen knife and went round to Boota’s home in Bradford, West Yorks, in November 2015, and she informed him that she was going to kill him before stabbing him in front of his two young children.
Boota, whose artery supplying blood away from his heart had been cut was saved by paramedics and surgeons. He was treated in intensive care and required a blood transfusion.
After stabbing her abuser, the girl hugged her aunt and said: “Tell my mum I love her,” and handed herself in at Trafalgar House Police station, in Bradford city centre. She said: “I’ve killed someone,” and promptly admitted to what she had done.
The teen was formally charged with attempted murder but the Crown accepted her plea of guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
The court learned how the girl had been “entirely destroyed” when Boota was not imprisoned for sexually assaulting her and encouraging her to join in sexual activity. He was given a community order after she had to give evidence at his trial because he denied the offences, but after, she was paranoid that he was going to get her.
The girl was later excluded from school for poor behaviour, and she feared she would never get a husband and she lived her life in a bad dream.
Boota was left in permanent pain from the injury, permanently maimed and his children have been affected, but rightly or wrongly, this 15-year-old felt that the justice system had let her down.
She was left profoundly troubled and scarred, and she acted in a few moments of hopelessness and despair, and this was an unusual situation which needed an extraordinary course, and this profoundly confused and broken child who was now tormented by low self-esteem was crying out for help.
Judge Durham Hall convicted the girl to a two year Youth Rehabilitation Order with supervision. He told her: “You stabbed him in the region of his heart. Mercifully, you did not kill him.
“He was saved by excellent medical intervention and has made a pretty full recovery.”
The judge continued: “Why did you stab this man? Because when you were eight in 2009 he committed serious sexual offences against you.
“He was treated by the courts, with hindsight, somewhat leniently but things have changed. Now there is condign punishment in cases of this nature, in accordance with the guidelines.”
In 2010, Boota was sentenced to a community order with two years’ supervision and required to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register, and he was made subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order which included a provision preventing him from having any communication with the young victim.
Recorder Nolan contemplated imposing a residence order requiring him to live somewhere other than his home because his victim still lived in the neighbourhood, but despite the judge’s beliefs that Boota was being evicted from his home in Bradford anyhow, six years on, he was still living in the same house.
At the time, recorder Nolan stated that he was satisfied the assault was over a short period of time and he was satisfied it was a comparatively minor sexual assault, and that any assault of a child is bound to be serious and that the court should take the crime seriously as well.
And that had the man been of sufficient intelligence and physically fit he would have been considering a term of incarceration, but undoubtedly the assault was mitigated by the fact that he had severe learning problems and a number of physical limitations.
Speaking following the 2010 court hearing the girl’s mother, who can’t be named to preserve her child’s identity, said: “How could that happen?
“A child gets attacked and the judge gives him a community order. He’s a paedophile, where is the justice in that?”
Sadly, justice is not always written into the law books, but we should still praise the system for the continuing publicity which will inform others of this mans presence in the community, and well done to the judge and the victim, and we should not be punishing the judge in this case, we should be giving him a piece of our heart.
This judge needs to be promoted with immediate effect, after all, he’s about the only judge we have with any common sense. This judge should be commended, and every pervert should go in front of him, then perhaps they will be punished suitably and not walk amongst us again.