Islington Council crime chief slams “lenient” knife sentence

Councillor Paul Convery

Councillor Paul Convery - Credit: Archant

£500 fine for shopkeeper who sold knife to boy, 17, moments before stabbing

The town hall’s crime chief has slammed the “extraordinary leniency” of a fine handed to a shopkeeper who sold a knife to a 17-year-old – which was used in an attack minutes later.

Salman Capti, 26, of Warley Street, Bethnal Green, was convicted of selling two knives to an underage person at City Supermarket in Goswell Road, Finsbury, as well as breaching his licence conditions by having inadequate CCTV in the shop.

After finding Capti guilty of both offences at a hearing on June 9, magistrates at Highbury Corner had adjourned the case for sentencing because of “the very serious consequences that resulted from the sale”.

But at the sentencing on June 30 magistrates ordered Capti to pay a £500 fine for the knife offence and a £100 fine for the second offence, plus a £50 victim surcharge.

The maximum penalty for selling a knife to a person under the age of 18 is a £5,000 fine and six months in prison, and the fine for the licensing breach could have been as high as £20,000.

Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, said: “The law states very clearly that people under the age of 18 cannot purchase a knife.

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“In this distressing case, the knives sold by this shopkeeper were used in a potentially lethal assault on a young man.

“I am disappointed at the extraordinary leniency of the fine in such a serious case. There is an epidemic of knife-related crime in London, which has led to many deaths and injuries.

“A greater penalty in a case where the sale demonstrably resulted in a life-threatening attack could have impressed on other businesses their moral and legal duty to protect our young people.”

City Supermarket (UK) Ltd, the company which owns City Supermarket, was also convicted of the knife offence and was fined £750 and £50 victim surcharge. They also had to pay £5,000 costs.

The court had heard that CCTV footage from the shop showed the youth entering the shop on June 19, 2014. About 10 minutes later, a man was stabbed seven times on the nearby Triangle estate. The victim survived, but suffered serious injuries.

In October 2014, the teenager was sentenced to five years’ youth detention by Blackfriars Crown Court after pleading guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The youth had told the court that he had been responsible for the purchase of the knives from a local shop.

Islington Council brought the case against Capti and the shop’s owners after being approached by police following the trial.

A spokesman for Islington Trading Standards said that officers offer training and information in regard to the sale of age-related items.

However, “secret shopper” test purchases carried out in recent years have shown that nearly one in three Islington shopkeepers was prepared to sell a knife to a child.