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Shopkeeper fined for selling knife to stab-crime teenager

Islington Council has criticised the leniency of a £500 fine given to a shopkeeper who sold a 17-year-old boy knives that he used minutes later to stab a man seven times.

In a prosecution led by Islington Council Trading Standards, Salman Capti, 26, of Warley Street, E2, was convicted of selling two knives to an underage person at City Supermarket in Goswell Road as well as breaching his licence conditions by having inadequate CCTV in the shop. After finding the defendant guilty of both offences at a hearing on 9 June, Highbury Magistrates had adjourned the case for sentencing because of “the very serious consequences that resulted from the sale”.

However, when the court reconvened on 30 June, the magistrates ordered Capti to pay a £500 fine for the knife offence and a £100 fine for the second offence plus a £50 victim surcharge. The maximum penalty for selling a knife to a person under the age of 18 is a £5,000 fine and six months in prison, and the fine for the licensing breach could have been as high as £20,000.

City Supermarket (UK) Ltd, the company which owns City Supermarket, 190-4 Goswell Road, EC1V 7HJ, was also convicted of the knife offence and was fined £750 and £50 victim surcharge. They also had to pay £5,000 costs.

Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, said: “The law states very clearly that people under the age of 18 cannot purchase a knife. In this distressing case, the knives sold by this shopkeeper were used in a potentially lethal assault on a young man.

“I am disappointed at the extraordinary leniency of the fine in such a serious case. There is an epidemic of knife-related crime in London, which has led to many deaths and injuries. A greater penalty in a case where the sale demonstrably resulted in a life-threatening attack could have impressed on other businesses their moral and legal duty to protect our young people.”

Mr Convery said that the council was now considering an appeal against the sentence.

The court had heard that CCTV footage from the shop showed the youth entering the shop on June 19, 2014. About 10 minutes later, a man was stabbed seven times on the nearby Triangle council estate in the Finsbury area of London. The victim survived, but suffered serious injuries.

In October 2014, the teenager was sentenced to five years’ youth detention by Blackfriars Crown Court after pleading guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. The youth had told the court that he had been responsible for the purchase of the knives from a local shop.

A spokesman for Islington Trading Standards said that officers offer training and information in regard to the sale of age-related items. However, “secret shopper” test purchases carried out in recent years have shown that nearly one in three Islington shopkeepers was prepared to sell a knife to a child.

“To ensure they don't sell knives to under-18s traders much adopt the 'Challenge 25' policy and ask any customers who look under the age of 25 to provide photo proof of age."