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Judges warn 'shod foot' is weapon

Leading judges have warned that a "shod foot" is regarded as a weapon by the courts and offenders who kick their victims when they are defenceless on the ground face being sent to jail.

Three Court of Appeal judges issued their message as they agreed with the Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC that a non-custodial sentence imposed on a teenager for a robbery - during which the victim was kicked and punched - was "unduly lenient".

Lady Justice Hallett, Mr Justice Bean and Mrs Justice Swift quashed a community order originally handed out to Arshad Hussain, 19, from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, and sentenced him instead to detention for two years.

Hussain and two others robbed a 24-year-old man of his laptop in May last year as he left a recreation ground in High Wycombe.

During the incident the victim was dragged backwards and when he fell to the ground he was punched and kicked by all three.

Lady Justice Hallett described it as a serious offence and pointed out that the Court of Appeal had said on "numerous" occasions "how gravely we treat" offences "where the victim is kicked on the ground with a shod foot".

She added: "The reason is simple - such offences can kill, blind or permanently disable, and often tragically do. A shod foot does count as a weapon."

Hussain, who has no previous convictions, was sentenced at Aylesbury Crown Court in June after admitting robbery.

The restaurant manager was present in court on Wednesday for the ruling and was taken immediately into custody.

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