Free Assault

This little story has popped up on my radar.

First the crime.

(Trainee Paramedic) Stephen Mason was attacked in August last year. He was unconscious for 12 hours and off work for four months.

Now the people who admitted the attack.

Soldier Jake Roe, 21, and doctor Nik Mann, 27

And the punishment?

200 Hours community service and a £3,000 (or £300, reports differ) compensation.

The reason the judge gave for why they didn't receive prison time?

“If they receive prison sentences they will lose their jobs which serve the country and the community,” he said.

GAH! And possibly a false assumption.

Primarily the judge is sending the message that you can nearly beat someone to death, and as long as you have a 'worthy' job you can receive a much lighter sentence. This isn't as bad as the judge that told the paramedic who was beaten by his patient that it was 'part of the job and he should expect it', or the mental health trust that had a job description including “Exposure to verbal and physical aggression from patients and their relatives and or carers.”

So a trainee paramedic gets the crap kicked out of him, but because the guilty parties have the right jobs they pretty much get away with four hours a week for a year of voluntary work.

My brother the teacher is taking this story into his school today, so that he can explain to the children that if they get good exam results and a decent job then they can get away with a lot more than if they are unemployed. Also that they shouldn't work for the ambulance service, because then your bruises (and coma) mean less.

I wonder if I would get a similar sentence were I to come across these people and put them in a coma? Or would I get a heavy sentence because these jobs are more 'worthy' than mine?

There is nothing quite like a story like this to make you realise exactly how valued you are.


I'm going to be kicking a lot of 'friends' on Facebook in the next few hours – After looking at it I think that it will be much more use if I restrict that particular network to people that I know rather than including people who read my blog. I'll still be accepting anyone on Livejournal and Myspace. Sorry – it's not that I hate you, just that I think that Facebook works better if I keep the numbers small.

Comments have been disabled from this post so that no-one can influence any further action from legal or professional bodies. I am so proud of people that it didn't turn into a classic internet flame-war.

42 thoughts on “Free Assault”

  1. I am appalled.I wouldn't want any doctor who has done something as awful as that, poking about my bits and pieces or my families.

    Quite frankly, sacking a doctor with anger management issues issues will hold the door open for someone better qualified to do the job.

  2. Rather makes you wonder if the doctor and the judge both 'knew a certain handshake', if you know what I mean…(And the judge could then hardly let the doctor off lightly then come down hard on the soldier).

    Pity the same 'organisation' isn't open to women members or the policewoman with(out) the laptop would have been fine…

    Are there actually any judges out there who are in touch with public opinion (or reason) at all? There was one a few weeks ago -presiding over a case of alleged terrorists who had used the internet to train and recruit- who asked “what is a website?” And then said he couldn't understand the explanation.

  3. I've deleted the multiple comments that you've posted leaving just this copy. It's not really the polite thing to 'spam' comments like that.I would ask in return that if there is CCTV evidence of the assault, why was it said that the police found no evidence of any assault on any women.

    The thing that shocked me was that the judge made reference to the offenders professions as part of the reason for his sentencing. I believe that there is no guidance in sentencing based on the offender's job.

    If the people who hired him have no problem with a previous TWOC, then I don't. Again it's bad form really to bring up the victims previous conviction.

    I'm guessing that you are related in some way to one of the offenders – it would be nice if you could clarify that rather than write under a pseudonym.

    But thanks for your comment.

  4. That's ok, the paramedic should get his mates (of course only ones with medical/military/government job) and go and give the doctor and soldier a good kicking as of course by that logic he's immune from jail too! While he's at it he should indulge in a bit of shoplifting, fraud and armed robbery to supplement his income. Genius!

  5. Let's be clear here. Both assailants were convicted of GBH – that's one step down the violent offences ladder from manslaughter. Rather than a Doctor's profession lessening his degree of punishment it ought to increase it. He's breached the public trust by doing the exact opposite of what society expects from him – he has deliberately harmed while he's expected to be a healer. Worse still, the sentencing guidelines give all the following as aggravating factors:Abuse of trust

    Extensive injuries

    Offender in position of authority

    Victim serving the public

    The sentencing guidelines do NOT give employment as a mitigating factor. This judge is wrong both morally and in jurisprudential terms.

    Further, the doctor OUGHT to lose his job over this. I hope someone asks the GMC to strike him off.

  6. Just following the link about the mental health nurse job description including exposure to physical aggression – I'd suggest that whoever thinks that is ok is clearly psychopathic (in as much as they clearly don't care about their staff) and also a danger to the public (said staff). Aren't said staff then quite within their rights to section said person?Go on guys, section all your senior management! You know it makes sense!

  7. In my opinion their jobs should not mitigate the sentence. There is also the fact, if the report is accurate, that they have not apologised directly to the victim, which would indicate to my mind that the “remorse” they are showing – via their solicitor – is not real remorse, but a method to try and mitigate their sentence.Their guilt is not in doubt; they have pleaded guilty. Both men are clearly capable of getting out of control, and in the soldiers case it can be expected that his training would give him an advantage against an untrained person in a fight. I honestly fail to see what ANY of the jobs, defendant or plaintiff, have to do with the assault. The fact is, two blokes beat the hell out of another bloke, and both should be punished to the extent of the law for it.Want to empty jails? Let out all those who the sentencing guidelines instruct to jail for things like nonpayment of council tax. Both these people are a danger to the community. If this has happened once it could again, especially if they believe in some way they've “got away with it”.Both should have been jailed, even if they were subsequently let out early. You CANNOT send a message to these sorts of people that to do this is okay if you have a responsible job. Quite the contrary, if you have a responsible job you should NEVER be up on such charges, the fact they are indicates they've let themselves, their community and their vocations down.The prosecution should appeal the sentence straight away.

  8. I dont know the Army system very well, but I know that if you committed such an offence in the Navy the courts are obliged to inform the Provost. I imagine a similar system exists for all the services.Just because the soldier got off lightly in normal court also doesn't mean he won't lose his job in a court martial. If enough fuss is raised he is likely to get kicked straight out, probably via Colchester.

    I hope they both get their respective books thrown at them

  9. Speaking as a service man I could not agree more with everyone comments, im also an active member of my stations first response unit. unfortunattly if the solider has returned from Iraq or afghanistan with in 7 days of commiting this offence there is nothing the army can do about it, becasue both regions are high impact combat areas and as such all personell returning from them are meant to be be given 7 days to decompress.however if he hasn't then, (which i suspect) the army should do him for bringing the military into distrpute. Whilist this won't get him kicked out of the army it will completely ruin his carrer!!

    cooperman

  10. It is interesting to see what else the judge has decided, I just did a quick search on the man himself and find that he presided over a Police Officer's trial, in which the said officer told an insurance claim that she had a laptop stolen, but didn't actually own a laptop. Now not that this is right in anyway, she is likely to loose her job, (and so she should of course, because she has abused the trust of her colleagues and has brought the police service into disrepute) but then the same man presides over an assault case and lets the two off because of their jobs.Nice to see that the people up in their ivory towers see who is a server to the community and country and who is not. So much for the violence against NHS staff being taken seriously, it is obviously not.

  11. It hurts so much reading this, that I don't trust myself to reply, yet, except to say YES to the posts above. Shit.

  12. If it had been two soldiers, they would be in jail. But because one is a doctor and higher up the ladder (to the judge) than a soldier he was given a lenient sentence. The soldier received the same sentence because there would have been an outcry of class discrimination had he not.So if you want to go out committing violent crime take a doctor with you. Not to tend to the patient, more to get you a lighter sentence.

  13. the doc should of been sent to the 3rd world mission hospital for 3 months (unpaid of course) then he would be doing good, but in really crap conditions.the solder should of been handed over to the MP's so they could hand out there justices, which from what i have been told is worlds apart from the soft jails of civiy street.

    Does a doctor have to take a outh to “do no harm” cause he done that over!!!

  14. I'm disgusted by this. The judge is a prick as are the assailants.If I kill some of the alcoholics I'd like to can I expect to do no time and keep my job? I doubt it.Can judges be reported for incompitance or do they get exemption like barristers?

  15. I've emailled the GMC as well – can I suggest that we all do the same? I'm not sure that it will have any effect but you never know. I wonder if Dr Crippen will have any comment? Oh no, it didn't involve a 'practitioner' but a highly educated, highly trained medical God. That will probably explain the judges decision then.

  16. I think there is. As cooperman describes, you can be tried, by any of the Armed Forces, with bringing that force into disrepute. In this case, I think that the Army would indeed be entitled to claim that he's brought them into disrepute, as it's giving them a bad name! The forces all have to rely on good PR. And this is very, very bad PR!I imagine the soldier's Staff Sgt, etc are going to give him hell if they find out about this – and I can't really see them not!!

    Regards

    Nick

    http://nickhough.blogspot.com

  17. Thats appalling. Far from the doctors job being preserved, surely he should have been struck off someone with such violent capability shouldnt have access to vulnerable people in society.

  18. I'm disgusted by the sentencing. In Australia we only have recently been the same protection under law and legislation as police when we are assaulted or obstructed in our course of duty. The first test case, did see the offenders given reasonable sentences initially and we were happy with the result. Unfortunately this has been reduced under appeal, the details I don't know, but it is disheartening.I think we just need to feel supported and protected to do our job by the people with the power to do so.

  19. Tom, having been a long time reader had to react to this one. Last year, there was a spate where ambulance crews up north went through a heck of a time assault wise. I came from an ambulance family. My step-day was punched in the face by a supposed “unconscious” drug overdose, we had crews shot at (twice in the same night) by air rifles, equipment nicked off the back of an ambulance while on call, and the whole violent cycle ended with the stealing of an ambulance which was written off after the back end hit a wall then ploughed into a car. A few new years ago, we were subject to having paving slabs thrown at the ambulace, and my mate was punched arriving at the scene of the 999 call.Out of all that there were only two prosecutions…one for the ambulance theft, and the second one that threw the stones…and that was because he stabbed a guy in the stomach the same day.

  20. There never seems to be any sort of thing like reality to the justice system. It seems to be that us ambulance workers can quite happitly be beaten up trying to help people.I cant help but think how different this case would have been had a different professional been the one beaten up. The government talked tough on assaults on NHS staff but in reality most get away with a rap on the knuckles.

  21. As a registered nurse (married to a prison governor) I am horrified about this – I have emailed the GMC to ask them to investigate. Hopefully those in the know in the Forces will do the same for the soldier.Interestingly my husband (old cynic that he is) commented “must have good lawyers…..” Says it all really. Will speak to the neighbour who runs the local lodge for his view!

  22. I'm assuming you're referring to Freemasonry. I am a Freemason (as well as an EMT). I know I have a lot of widely held, preconceived ideas about Masons going against me in this argument, but PLEASE don't think that membership, if either of this pair are or were Masons, would have given either defendant (and who's to say that the soldier isn't a Mason?) a chance of a lighter sentence. If anything, the contrary applies, as their actions fly in the face of what Freemasonry stands for (have a look at http://www.grandlodge-england.org/ if you want to know more) and they are likely to have been treated more harshly, as well as being kicked out of their Lodges as a result of the conviction.

  23. I'm speechless!!!! And that is a very rare thing.Surely the fact that the paramedic was doing that very job is an aggrivating factor. We read all the time about how NHS employees are subjected to violence, and this kind of “justice” is hardly sending out a message of zero tolerence. I'm not medically trained, but i'll guess that injurys such as Stephen Mason's did not come about from one blow, but a sustained attack. One of the assailents was a Dr for gods sake!

    And as for the jobs held down by the defendants, well that just shows that they should bloody well know better. A conviction for this kind of things should lose them their jobs.

  24. Judges will frequently ask (often apparently stupid) questions to which they already know the answer either to get the answer into the court record or to ensure that the jury know what's being discussed.What *is* a website? Try and come up with a concise, accurate, assumption free definition that anyone can understand, working under the presumption that the appeal court is going to pick your definition apart at a later date. I thnk you'll find it's rather more difficult than it first appears.

  25. My question: WHY??? Not, why did they get such a light sentence, but why did they beat the poor bugger up? What had he done to them? Or, as I suspect, looking at their photos, are they just thugs? If the doc turns up at my hospital looking for a job, he won't be getting one!!!!

  26. Response from the Fitness to Practice Committee of the GMC re Dr Mann – “Dr Mann is currently the subject of our Fitness to Practise procedures however at present I cannot comment further on these matters. I have noted your interest and will provide you with a further update in due course.”

  27. I find this crazy… In the course of my job I occasionally must attend court cases in the UK, last week I saw the sentancing of a number of youths who had beaten an other youth- who happened to be walking by- in an entirely unprovoked attack in nighttime. The victim was close to unconciousness and covered with blood when they were rescued by passers by and taken to hospital. The prosecuted youths recieved varying sentances between 18months and 3 years each in a young offenders institution.How can a similar offence (maybe even not quite as serious) attract such a different sentence? I cannot understand this.

  28. I think as many people as possible should complain to the GMC to make them aware that this is a matter of public interest.Complaints can be emailed to practise@gmc-uk.org

    The doctor in question is Nik Mann (GMC number 6073177).

    A news report of this can be found on http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/nol/newsid_6760000/newsid_6769600/6769601.stm?bw=bb&mp=wm

    The duties of a doctor registered with the General Medical Council taken from the Good Medical Practice 2006 states a doctor must;

    Protect and promote the health of patients and the public

    Be honest and open and act with integrity

    Never abuse your patients' trust in you or the public's trust in the profession.

  29. Hi everyone,I'm Steve Mason the trainee paramedic who was beaten up by a doctor and soldier. Just want to tell everyone the events that happened that night. I cant really remember that night due to my head injury, all I know is what the police and friends told me.

    Prior to that night I never knew Nik Mann (doctor) or Jake Wain Roe (soldier). We were out on a male nurse's stag night. They were there because Mann was in a relationship with a nurse from the hospital and Roe was her brother.

    Whilst we were out, friends said that a nurse and Mann's girlfriend were having an argument. I tried to calm things down, when the two of them stepped in. There was a minor scuffle and I was kicked out of the front and they were kicked out of the back. They came round to the front and confronted me.

    Again police told me that we were having a discussion outside the pub, I then turned my back on them to leave and was tripped or fell and was punched and kicked unconscious. An independent witness (taxi driver) said they were kicking my head like a football with all their weight behind the blows. In total the police said I received 30 blows after I was unconscious.

    The ambulance was called and I was taken to hospital. I woke up 16 hours later wondering what had happened to me. I had brain swelling which they found out from a CT scan, 2 black eyes and a footprint mark on one side of my head with gravel marks on the other side. Due to me working at that hospital I discharged myself 2 days later. It was just a bit wierd being there!

    A couple of days later I was readmitted with a suspected cerebral bleed. This came back negative but I did have brain oedema. In total I was off work for 4 months. During that time my relationship broke down and was receiving counselling. Before I was allowed back to work all my ambulance skills were tested and scrutinised. I am now back at work full time.

    My confidence, self esteem and word finding skills are still affected. One week after the incident Mann's girlfriend made an allegations against me for hitting her!?!? This was investigated by the police and they found her on CCTV falling out of a taxi whilst I was unconscious, all footage inside the bar also proved I had not hit her at all. Mann's girlfriend then withdrew her allegation and she was given a warning (you can all see what she was trying to do, she even told someone to tell me that if the charges from my attack were not dropped she would accuse me of this).

    In court the judge mentioned prison overcrowding. He also mentioned numerous times that the doctor and soldier who did this to me have a lot to lose in the form of their jobs. They said that if they received a custodial sentence which is usual for this degree of violent crime, they would lose their jobs.

    At court once the sentence of 200 hours community service and a conditional discharge had been passed, the two defendants saluted the air, cheered and hugged their solicitors right in front of my face. I felt this blow the worse. Its was like they were rubbing my face in the fact that they got away with it.

    I still cant believe the judge let these 2 men walk free. They did this to me irrespective of their jobs and I do not believe just because they hold supposedly responsible occupations they should be treated in a different way than the rest of the general public. They should have had a fair sentence in relation to the crime.

    A week ago I found out that whilst I was knockout on the floor my c-spine and head was being cradled by 2 nurses from the hospital, Mann then came back and stamped on my head a further 2 times. The CPS didn't interview these 2 nurses. I'm sure that if they did that evidence would have been crucial.

    I am not giving up with this yet. My colleague and I have wrote to the GMC and CPS to give them this new information. Hopefully they will do something. If I can ask you all to do the same it may help. I think everyone should know what they did to me and how they got away with it. Especially as Nik Mann's next post is a GP in the Birmingham area. People need to know what sort of man he is.

    My story is being covered in the news of the world this Sunday (1/7/07) or next Sunday (8/7/07).

    Thanks all for your support

    My email address steve9722@hotmail.co.uk

    Steve

  30. Steve, Thanks for posting this comment – as you can see a fair number of people have complained to the GMC and hopefully they will treat the assault with the seriousness it deserves.

    I hope that you can find some peace and that those who attacked you get to feel some justice.

  31. Hi to everyoneI am Steve's LAP and have acted as his support Officer and advocate during this whole period due to his injuries as he could not help himself.

    This incident has been handled very badly by the authorities through out. Firstly the Police never interviewed several whitnesses and prior to the first hearing, in Magistrates Court, they hadn't even spoken to Steve!

    We attended that hearing and I spoke to the prosecutor who told me the charge was assault! When I asked if she had seen the photographs, which we took, she said she had not. Likewise we produced the Hospital report, the PRF and personal statements from the crew.

    After seeing this evidence she withdrew the first charge and adjorned for further information.

    After a couple of weeks the Police finally took Steve's statement and submitted our evidence and the charge was increased to GBH with mal iintent.

    When we finally made Crown court after several canncellation due to the defendants failiure to attend the pre sentence report, the CPS with drew the intent with out any explanation to the Judge.

    As Steve mentioned as we left court the two defendants gave a 'high five' salute right in front of Steve's parents. They both grinned at us as they walked awsy. you can imagine Steve'e feelings after nearly being killed these two get off with a slapped wrist!

    I can say honestly that Steve is a good guy, an honest straight forward bloke and this incident has really shook him. he is only now getting his life together 10 months after the beating. He's now back on course for his Paramedic entry exam and I know you all wish him well. Once again I urge you to write to the GMC and the CPS and make your feelings known and maybe we can get some justice.

    The GMC have had a full file from me including photo's and satements and I have also lodged an appeal against the sentence on Steve's behalf.

    Thanks again to you all it means a lot to Steve.

    Mick Fennell, West Midlands Ambualnce Service

  32. Hi,I am Mark Mason, Steve's cousin from New Zealand. I was so angry when Steve contacted me about the result of the court case. There is no way that this would happen here. In fact if it did it would lead the national television news and make the front page of the broadsheets. I said to Steve “why would you want people like this serving your community and country? Are they the sort of people you want serving your community and country”? I know that here in New Zealand the answer would be a resounding NO!!

    What message is this ending to the rest of your country and to the world? This is third-world corrupt dictatorship type law. That is, law for the rich and powerful.

    My initial reaction was “what a crap-hole country my grandfather left many years ago. Now my reaction is still one of total disbelief. This wasn't just an assault, it was an assault with intent to injure, maim and even kill.

    You people in England have to bring this to the public's attention. People, who live in the same constituency as Steve, take it to your MP. It would be even better if he was a Tory as he could make a lot of mileage out of this. In fact, any Tory MP especially the Spokesperson on law and order would welcome information on such a case.

    Finally whether the prison service can hold these lowlife or not, is not the concern of the judge. That is the concern of the prison service itself and its respective public service department and Minister. His job is to ensure that justice is seen to be done…which it was clearly not in this case.

    Cheers,

    Mark

  33. This story has generated a large number of comments and replies – it is bound to as the story, or the way it has been reported is shocking to say the least. However, I feel that the responses on here are emotional and mainly based on the fact that the case involves a doctor and a soldier which is not surprising seen as most of them come from people in similar professions.I do not defend or justify violence in any form but what I would say to everybody in here is to take a step back and start asking some obvious questions. Why would 2 people of completely good character attack a complete stranger when that person has done nothing to provoke an attack? Why did S Mason get ejected from the nightclub by bouncers before the attack? Why would a judge sentence people based purely on their profession and not the evidence before them? Let me help you with some of the answers…. S Mason was ejected from the nightclub by bouncers for starting a fight with J Roe and N Mann inside the nightclub, there is CCTV evidence showing S Mason waiting outside the nightclub for J Roe and N Mann – the CCTV then goes on to show S Mason punching N Mann and his girlfriend (J Roes sister) in which she falls to the floor once struck. J Roe and N Mann didn't try to run away from the police or deny what they had done, they held their hands up, pleading guilty and explained why they did it. We all know the rest as the case has been widely reported. I am NOT defending any of the behaviour in this case but I am asking you to think about why the attack happened and think about your actions should a complete stranger try to pick a fight with you then wait outside despite being ejected and then proceed to attack a female member of your party. THIS is all evidence the judge will have considered when sentencing not just professions. And on the other side of the coin would you be happy with somebody who has a previous conviction for taking a car without the owners consent being a trainee paramedic and potentially being responsible for your safety whilst driving in the future? Steven – I welcome your comments.

  34. Firstly, apologies for leaving multiple comments, I mistakenly thought that each person needed a separate response to their comments. I don't usually blog but I felt very strongly about doing so in this case so please excuse my inexperience in 'blogs'. I am not a relative of either offender I just so happen to have been watching this case and knew the history as you clearly do and as blogs are about free speech took the oppurtunity to leave my thoughts.There was, infact there still is, evidence of an assult on a women – it came to light just before sentencing by the defendents solicitors and was put forward and used at sentencing. This will be used as part of the file taken to the GMC and work has begun to understand why the police did not act on this evidence.

    I completely agree with your very valid point “If the people who hired him have no problem with a previous TWOC, then I don't”. This blog encourages people to write to the GMC and Army with their personal opinions on a case where they do not have all the facts and a decision has been made by a judge that did, I personally find that inproper. This has been and is being dealt with by the correct authorities, it is up to them to make a decision based on the evidence and facts brought to them – not the emotional opinions of S Masons friends, family and collegues. And if the GMC or Army decide that they will allow a person to continue in their career despite previous convictions then you and I shouldn't have a problem with that as you so rightly say in your comment above.

    I also agree that the Judge did make reference to the offenders professions as PART of the reason for his sentencing – the key word here is PART – the other part was the provocation by S Mason which was witnessed in the evidence mentioned above.

    I will repeat again that I am not defending ANY of the behaviour that went on that night but i am simply trying to put across that there are two sides to every story, the case has been dealt with by the correct authorities and punishment that the Judge felt fit has been served. So to publish a one sided story in a newspaper, create one sided blogs and write hurtful non factual comments about people that you do not know saddens me. When the victim committed his crimes he was dealt with appropriately – how would he feel if his victim carried on in such a fashion? Personally as a member of the public I don't feel it is right that someone who commits car crime is allowed to drive an ambulance but a decision has been made by the people who have the authority that it is ok to do so, I as a member of the public accept it and carry on with my life which I hope one day you are able to do aswell.

  35. I read with interest your comments. There are few things that are not correct.Firstly if you were in court you were a relative or a friend of the defendants, if not then you do not have the true facts as outlined in court.

    The reference to the hitting of Mann and his sister just did not happen. The judge stated that there was no evidence presentented by the police and no charges agsinst Steve were laid. Why? The Police stated, and I was there, that she had made a complaint but after seeing the CCTV footage of her falling from a taxi and hitting her head she was told to 'go away'.

    There is no CCTV footage of Steve hitting anyone or he would have been charged. The CCTV shows Steve running away, I have seen it! Have you?

    As for making accusations against Steves past you should be careful because defirmation is also an offence. I have sent a parcel of evidence to the GMC which bears out all I have said.

    I believe you may have a vested interest in blackening Steves name but the facts are the facts whether they suit you or not. The evidence in court was damning and they did plead guilty with out pressing charges against Steve.

    Mick Fennell

  36. I am not here to get into a war of words or blacken anyones name – simply post my thoughts as you have done. Passionate as you obviously are about this case it is not for us to pass judgement on an internet site – any judgement should be left to those who have the authority. All that I have mentioned today is fact and the new evidence alongside the existing evidence will be used accordingly.The end.

  37. And yes – We'll end it there before anyone says anything else that may influence any further legal or professional bodies action.Thank you everyone for not flaming each other.

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