Judge, minister praise Gazette

A judge praised The Kentish Gazette for its role in highlighting the problem of drunken violence during the trial of a man charge with assault.

Judge Nigel van der Bijl’s comments followed a case where a man “flayed out” after confronting a group who he said had made offensive remarks at him. The judge passed copies of The Gazette’s report on the trial of Jalal Fakhouri to both the Crown Prosecution Service and defence lawyers, before passing sentence.

He said: “I saw the press report of this particular case and it struck me as being a fair and accurate report.

“I am going to take an unusual course in remarking about a press report about this case in The Kentish Gazette, which is vital because, to use the hackneyed phrase ‘there is a lot of this about’; young men getting involved in fights after drinking and people getting hurt, some of it mindless violence. This court is taking a very strict view in the knowledge that these matters will be reported and get the message out.”

Fakhouri was given an 18-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay his victim £500 compensation.

The judge’s comments follow an ongoing campaign by The Gazette – Call Time on Late Night Louts. It resulted in more than 1,200 letters by readers of the Canterbury-based weekly being sent to the city’s Lord Mayor.

The Gazette has called for better policing of the city centre and in June Gazette reporter Alex Claridge presented Home Office minister Hazel Blears with a dossier of the paper’s coverage on the issue. In an exclusive interview, the Minister for Crime Reduction and Policing

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