‘Lenient’ sentence of man guilty of exploiting vulnerable victim, under review by Attorney General

A man found guilty of modern slavery charges against one of our former clients is having his sentence reviewed by the Attorney General’s Office.

Peter Swailes Jr, was handed a nine month prison sentence suspended for 18 months in February, following a trial which heard how he and his father Peter Swailes Sr, exploited a vulnerable man and kept him in a squalid shed for 40 years.

Our former client Chris* was rescued from the shed by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) following a tip off from the public, and was found to have been kept in various poor accommodation, including a horse box, and used for free labour, since he was a teenager.

Peter Swailes Sr died before he could go to trial, but his son pleaded guilty to ‘conspiracy to arrange or facilitate the travel of another with view of exploitation’ at Carlisle Crown Court.

The sentence drew wide condemnation from the public and human trafficking organisations for being unduly lenient, and City Hearts, along with ten other UK anti-slavery charities, wrote to the Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions to express disappointment at the leniency of the sentence, and to call for an urgent review of how the prosecution was handled.

Our call was supported by MP Peter Bone, and the sentence is currently ‘under consideration’ by the Attorney General’s Office under the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme.

City Hearts CEO Ed Newton, said: “We are really encouraged to hear that the sentence of Peter Swailes Jr is being reviewed by the Attorney General. It shows the strength of feeling amongst the public, and anti-trafficking organisations, that criminals who exploit others for gain should not be allowed to get away with it.”