A father and son who left a fellow airline passenger with “horrendous injuries” after they beat him during a dispute over a seat being pulled back have been spared jail time.
The Uxbridge Magistrates Court heard that Robert Powell, 58, and his son James, 22, had a dispute with Sreenivasayyr Janakiram on a flight to Heathrow on September 25, 2021.
Deborah Wright, a district judge, stated that the dispute had to do with the seat being returned.
Robert allegedly pushed Mr. Janakiram while he waited for the shuttle train at Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport.
The court heard that James then became involved and attacked Mr. Janakiram, stopping him from escaping.
Mr. Janakiram was left with scratches and bruises on his face and neck, as well as a significant swelling on one of his cheeks.
This month, magistrates convicted Robert, the director of an internet counseling company, and his son James guilty of assault by beating.
At their sentencing hearing, the judge stated that neither defendant had “shown any remorse” for initiating the assault, and she imposed suspended prison sentences on the couple from Enfield, north London.
Ms. Wright stated in her sentencing remarks, “Neither of you is receiving credit, neither of you is accepting responsibility for your actions, and neither of you has shown any remorse.”
You did not need to approach that man. He posed no threat to your safety.
James Powell, you inflicted great harm on him. You provided effective assistance by blocking his movement. The conduct of both of you was abhorrent.’
James Powell was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison, while his father received 16 weeks suspended for 18 months.
The court disregarded Robert Powell’s assertion that their victim had threatened to kill him while on the plane.
According to the rules of our country, he stated, “I am guilty of assault and I must accept that.”
In mitigation, Robert Powell stated, “At the time, I believed I was defending myself because I was being threatened, but I now realize that was wrong and that the courts in this country do not view such conduct as appropriate.”
Ms. Wright responded, “You plainly targeted him in the hallway, where he was standing doing his own business. You could have walked away, but you chose not to. He ultimately sustained horrific injuries. You two behaved like a pack.’
In addition to their suspended prison terms, the defendants were ordered to pay a total of £998 apiece, which included £250 in restitution to the victim, £1,620 in prosecution costs, and a £128 surcharge.
Robert Powell was also handed a three-month electronic monitoring tag, while his kid was given a six-month tag.