Abuse charities have criticised the “lenient” sentence handed out to former Kasabian frontman Tom Meighan after he avoided a jail term for assaulting his partner.
The 39-year-old was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work as he appeared at Leicester Magistrates' Court on Tuesday having pleaded guilty to assaulting Vikki Ager on April 9.
But soon after the verdict was delivered on Tuesday, it was heavily criticised – with many arguing Meighan should serve time behind bars for the crime.
The Women’s Equality Party tweeted: “The victim was hit in the face, shoved into a hamster cage, pushed over repeatedly and threatened with a wooden pallet.
“It was caught on camera and there’s evidence of previous offences. The judge: ‘I could have sent you to prison for this.’ WHY DIDN’T YOU?”
Domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid said the sentence risked sending a “dangerous message to other abusers”.
“Sentences for domestic abuse must ensure that justice is done, not only to improve survivors’ confidence in the criminal justice system but also to send a clear message to everyone that domestic abuse is unacceptable and that this crime is taken seriously,” a spokesperson for the charity said.
“Lenient sentences completely undermine the severity of the offence and the lasting pain the abuse causes survivors. It also sends out a dangerous message to other abusers that they too can get away with it.”
Domestic abuse blog The Legal Feminist explained in a post shortly after the sentencing that Meighan’s crime “narrowly [missed] the custody threshold” but that the punishment was “in line with the sentencing guidelines” given to judges.
The singer quit Kasabian on Monday, with the band releasing a statement saying he was dealing with “personal issues” and wanted to concentrate on “getting his life back on track”.
But Women’s Aid slammed the band for their apparent defence of Meighan, saying in a tweet “There is no excuse for abuse.”
The court was told Meighan “threw the victim across the room in a rage”, grabbed her leg and struck her on the head before threatening to hit her with a wooden pallet.
Ager was said to have suffered bruising to her knees, left elbow, outer ankle and big toe as well as a reddening around the neck, which she confirmed to officers was as a result of the assault.
Valli told the court the offence “could be argued to be relatively serious”, describing it as a “sustained assault”.
Sentencing Meighan, District Judge Nick Watson said: “Ms Ager has not made a statement to police and does not appear to support this prosecution. Of course, that choice does not mean I should treat this offence any less seriously.
“I need to take account of the fact that not only did you hurt Ms Ager, you also let down many people – band members and those who love your music. They will be shocked about what you did that night.”
During the 90-minute hearing, CCTV of the attack was played in court as Meighan wiped his eyes with a tissue and held his head in his hands.
Defending, Michelle Heeley QC told the court he “offers his sincere apologies to the people he has let down and he has sought to address his offending behaviour”.
The hearing came a day after a new Domestic Abuse Bill was passed in England and Wales which introduced the first legal government definition of domestic abuse and outlawed the “rough sex” defence.