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Trio jailed for grave and criminal assault "old enough to know better"

Trio jailed for grave and criminal assault

Sunday 18 February 2024

Trio jailed for grave and criminal assault "old enough to know better"

Sunday 18 February 2024

Three men have been jailed after getting into a brawl in the foyer of a block of flats in St Clement – during which one of them brandished a knife.

Perry Bouchard (32), Craig Smith (34), and James Harry Huish (41) received jail terms of two years, 18 months and 16 months respectively after admitting grave and criminal assault.

Delivering their sentence, Deputy Bailiff Robert MacRae said that the court normally deals with defendants in their late teens and early twenties for offences of this kind, adding: "Frankly, you are old enough to know better."

The trio had gone to the building where Smith lived when his ex-girlfriend was due to retrieve her belongings from his flat. The attack began after they met her new partner.

During the attack, a knife fell from Bouchard’s waistband, which he then retrieved and “brandished” as his co-defendants urged him to put it away.

Crown Advocate Lauren Hallam, prosecuting, described how Smith punched the man in the face, threw “a number of punches”, and threw him to the floor.

Huish then kicked and punched the victim, while Bouchard realised his knife had fallen from his waistband.

The advocate said: “He picked it up and held it in his fist while moving around the others.”

The victim was left with a bloodied nose, bruises to his knuckles, swelling on his temple and “a considerable amount of blood on both his hands,” the court heard.

Advocate Chris Baglin, defending Bouchard, said that his client had not planned on using the knife.

He said: “He’s not gone to a specific place with a knife out.”

Advocate Baglin said that his client had not been in trouble for ten years. 

Advocate Nicholas Mière, defending Huish, stressed that Bouchard had brought the knife unbeknownst to his co-defendants and called his client’s involvement a “terrible decision”. 

Advocate Olaf Blakeley, defending Smith, asked the court to lip-read a section of footage captured on CCTV, arguing that his client could be seen saying: “Don’t use that knife.”

The sentencing follows a number of high-profile knife crime court cases in recent months, although police have stressed that violent crime is not on the increase.

Echoing previous remarks in the courts about knife crime, Deputy Bailiff Robert MacRae said: “The court always takes a serious view of assaults with a knife. 

“There is always a risk of really serious injury. 

“The court is determined to send out a message that those who resort to an attack with a knife will face serious sentences.”

He added: “Mr Bouchard, you decided to take a knife in case you saw [the victim] and he was armed.

“This was a dangerous and reckless decision on your part.”

The Deputy Bailiff added that the seriousness of the crime made it impossible to impose a community service order – but did take into account Smith and Huish’s efforts to stop Bouchard from using the blade.

The Jurats sitting were Lieutenant-Bailiff Jane Ronge and David Le Heuzé.

Pictured top (from left to right): James Huish, Perry Bouchard and Craig Smith.

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