A JUDGE has slammed police and prosecutors after an attacker who launched a potentially deadly assault on a stranger was charged with just a minor offence.
Ryan Scott was knocked unconscious and left with a fractured tooth and a swollen, numb face when Aaron Cammock lashed out with his feet and fists without reason during a brutal attack in Sunderland city centre last month.
Mr Scott said he feared the violence would “never stop”.
Cammock, 20, who was on a community order for violence against a pregnant partner in 2011, faced a maximum sentence of only six months’ imprisonment for the beating after being charged with common assault.
At Newcastle Crown Court, Judge Roger Thorn QC said this was “just another example” of violent offenders being charged inappropriately and said the case was “grossly undercharged”.
Judge Thorn said: “Somebody at the Crown Prosecution Service appears to be only too happy to undercharge offences with a view to getting rid of work or whatever motive there may be.
“It is not fair on the public and not fair on those who are dealt with properly.
“If not the CPS, the police – that also has been a matter of concern. There is further suspicion it is to wipe off any paperwork they need to deal with.”
Mr Scott had been in the city for a night out with pal Liam Welsh when they were both targeted as they made their way to get something to eat.
Cammock is caught on CCTV squaring up to the men before launching punches and kicks at both their heads after knocking them to the ground. Mr Welsh needed an x-ray and CT scan after the attack, which revealed he had a perforated eardrum.
Judge Thorn said: “Any kick to the head is likely to cause serious injury and, on occasions, death.”
Cammock, of Goschen Street, Southwick, admitted assault in relation to Mr Welsh and common assault in relation to Mr Scott.
Judge Thorn sentenced him to 29 months behind bars for the assault and was restrained to giving him just an extra four months for the common assault, making a total of 33 months.
The judge said he must remain loyal to the sentencing guidelines for the charges.
A spokesman for Crown Prosecution Service North East said: “Any decision by the Crown Prosecution Service to level a charge is governed by the application of strict charging standards, criteria that must be satisfied in order for a specific type of charge to be brought.
“We will take on board the judge’s comments in this case, look at how this decision has been made and verify whether the charge of common assault was the most appropriate in these circumstances.”