The UK's fastest-growing regional news network
12°C | 2°C
13°C | 4°C
12°C | 4°C
See the full forecast for your area.
Sponsored by Britelite.
Home Thanet News Article
Fifa is treating offences of biting seriously - but not so Kent's Crown Prosecution Service, according to a judge.
Yesterday, football's world ruling body handed a four-month ban to Uruguay's Luis Suarez for digging his teeth into an opponent in a World Cup game against Italy.
But when violent James Holland - from Ramsgate - did the same to two police officers, lawyers let him plead to the minor charge of common assault.
Today Judge James O'Mahony criticised what he called an "extraordinary decision" not to proceed with more serious assault charges.
He told Canterbury Crown Court: "If you bite someone, you cause an injury. When he was arrested, he caused a very nasty assault by biting a police officer.
"It is tempting to make reference to what is going on in the World Cup, but if you bite someone that's causing them actual bodily harm."
Holland, 28, of Mount Zion House, Camden Road, had admitted assaulting police officers Simon Barnes, Stuart Long and Ian Vanstone.
One officer was bitten in the hand and the second on his finger in November last year. He will be sentenced in two weeks, together with another common assault and causing criminal damage.
The judge said the crown "would have had absolutely no difficulty" in proving the more serious assaults causing actual bodily harm.
"The wisdom behind accepting a plea to common assault is simply beyond me," he said.
A charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm to Holland's ex-lover Catherine Curtis was reduced to an assault causing actual bodily harm on the day of his trial. He had pleaded not guilty.
But after hearing legal submissions, Judge O'Mahony ordered the jury to acquit Holland.
He then criticised the crown's preparation of the case and for failing to get medical evidence about an alleged to fracture of Ms Curtis' foot.
The judge added that all cases of alleged domestic assault should be treated seriously, but CPS lawyers should have assessed the strength of the prosecution case prior to trial.
That, he added, would have shown up the "flaws in the case".
Holland – who has been in custody for seven months – was given bail until the next hearing.
Click here for more news from Thanet.
Click here for more news from around the county.