Bonfire knife man has sentence slashed

A TEENAGER who was caged for threatening youths with a kitchen knife during Bonfire Night celebrations in Rye had his sentence slashed by the country’s top judge.

Rhys Smith, 19, of Meehan Road, New Romney, held the four-inch serrated knife to the face of one youngster on November 10, 2011, saying he was willing to stab all of them.

In January last year, he was sentenced to two-and-a-half years’ custody at Lewes Crown Court after admitting possession of a bladed article.

However, he appealed, arguing that it was unfair because his then 16-year-old accomplice got away with a youth rehabilitation order.

Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, agreed and slashed Smith’s sentence to 20 months at the Court of Appeal in London.

He said Smith’s sentence would have been richly deserved, but for the much softer sentence imposed on his co-accused.

“The sentence passed by the youth court is inexplicable given the gravity of the offence committed by [the co-accused],” said the judge.

“He should have received a significant custodial sentence in the form of a detention and training order.

“The disparity in their punishment, even taking into account the more serious prior offending behaviour of Smith and the fact he was older by nine months, was unjust.”

He added: “The court therefore, in the interests of justice, reduced the sentence from 30 months to 20 months, although it merited 30 months.”