A TEENAGER has been jailed for brandishing a kitchen knife during a fight in the town centre.
Aiden O’Brien-Daniels, 18, was spotted with the weapon in Wellington Square on June 8 at around 6.30pm by retired police officer Tom Curry.
A hearing at Brighton Magistrates Court the next day heard that O’Brien Daniels, of Whernside Close, Thamesmead, London, was armed with a 13-inch knife.
He threw the knife in a bin and ran off but was later arrested nearby by police.
O’Brien-Daniels was jailed for 26 weeks after pleading guilty to possession of a bladed article following the fight involving a number of youths.
Mr Curry said: “I heard shouting and swearing. The youths were all fighting in Wellington Square. One of them then produced a carving knife. The other man then ran off like the Roadrunner when he was threatened. He was being chased by O’Brien-Daniels, who was running amok. I later spotted him in Elphinstone Road and contacted police.”
Mr Curry, who joined the police force in 1968 and left in 1989, criticised the sentence O’Brien-Daniels received, believing it to be too soft. He has written to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to complain.
He said: “Youth custody for 26 weeks is not sufficient punishment for someone who runs amok during a fighting affray with a full-size carving knife in broad daylight in the town centre. If I had not provided the only evidence this offender would not have been brought to court.”
Mr Curry, who believes sentencing of knife crime should be tougher, added O’Brien-Daniels should have been charged with a more serious offence, that of possession of an offensive weapon and unlawfully and intentionally threatening a person in a public place.
He met with Hastings MP Amber Rudd to highlight his concerns. Ms Rudd said: “We must have strong and clear sentencing laws against people who carry knives. This Government is bringing forward tougher penalties for people carrying knives and I welcome that as a strong deterrent.”
A CPS spokesman said: “This case was charged by the police and they remanded the defendant in custody to appear the following day at Brighton Magistrates’ Court. The police decided that the appropriate charge was possession of a bladed article. We reviewed the charge when we received the case at court the next day and we were content that this was the correct level of charge, that there was enough evidence to prosecute and that it was in the public interest for the CPS to bring this case to court. Sentencing is a matter for the courts. This was an either way offence and sentencing could have taken place in the Crown Court, if the magistrates felt that their powers of sentence were insufficient.”