Thug who kept ex-teacher as ‘slave’ must stay in jail

Scales.
Scales.

A thug who was jailed after he kept a retired teacher “almost as a slave” for months on end deserved every day of his prison term, top judges have ruled.

Mohammed Ballal (44) of Southfield Street, Nelson, kept the vulnerable 63-year-old man in a squalid bedsit.

Given the circumstances – the age of the victim and this gross abuse, which is approaching the reduction of a vulnerable person to a state of servitude – it cannot be said for one moment to be excessive to any degree

Appeal judge Sir Colin Mackay

He was beaten, bullied and forced to chauffeur Ballal around as he was kept as a prisoner for five months during 2013.

Ballal was jailed at Burnley Crown Court in June last year for four years and two months after admitting false imprisonment, fraud and two ABH assaults.

He appealed, but top judges at the Court of Appeal in London rejected his case and upheld his sentence on Thursday.

Ballal could not feel any sense of injustice, said appeal judge Sir Colin Mackay.

How we reported the original case - click here

The court heard the victim had fallen under the influence of Ballal, who moved him into the bedsit and kept him under close guard.

He was subjected to regular assaults, insults and degradation.

The victim was also kicked, punched and poked in the eye.

Ballal also forced him to undertake a “financial obligation” to help him buy a £22,000 car, the court heard.

Last year, sentencing Ballal judge Ian Leeming QC said the treatment meted out had been “disgraceful and brutal”.

But lawyers for Ballal argued at the Court of Appeal that the sentence was far too long.

Ballal, they said, had been led to believe it would be shorter and so had a “sense of injustice” when he realised how long it was.

Giving judgment, Sir Colin, sitting with Lord Justice Davis and Mrs Justice Patterson, rejected the complaint.

He continued: “Our task is to ask whether an overall sentence of 50 months for these serious offences was manifestly excessive.

“Given the circumstances – the age of the victim and this gross abuse, which is approaching the reduction of a vulnerable person to a state of servitude – it cannot be said for one moment to be excessive to any degree.

“We have no hesitation in dismissing this appeal.”