Jail terms given to Connors family for forced labour were 'too light', court is told
SENTENCES handed out to four members of a traveller family who forced vulnerable men to work for them were "too light", a court heard.
Attorney General Dominic Grieve urged appeal judges yesterday to impose harsher sentences on William Connors, 52, John Connors, 29, James Connors, 20, and Miles Connors, 24.
The four men were jailed after being convicted of conspiracy to compel people to carry out forced labour by a jury at Bristol Crown Court in December. They had pleaded not guilty.
Judge Michael Longman handed William Connors a six-and-a-half year jail term, John Connors a four-year term, James Connors a three-year term in a young offenders' institution and Miles Connors, a three-year term.
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Mr Grieve – a senior barrister and the Conservative MP for Beaconsfield – suggested today that longer sentences should have been imposed to deter others from committing similar crimes.
"At the end of the day, the sentences imposed did not reflect the seriousness of the offences," Mr Grieve told three appeal judges.
Lawyers representing the men disagreed and told judges that the sentences imposed were not "unduly lenient". The three judges – Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice, Mr Justice Simon and Mr Justice Irwin – said they would announce their decision at a later date.
Trial jurors had been told how the Connors family had a private workforce made up of men who were homeless drifters or addicts.
Prosecutors said workers were beaten and forced to work for as little as £5 a day.
Victims lived in squalid caravans on traveller sites include Beggar's Roost at Bamfurlong, near Staverton.
Mary Connors was given a jail term of two years and three months after the trial. Mr Grieve did not challenge her sentence.