After being labeled “a racist and a thug” by Judge Francis Sheridan, David Gallacher was sentenced to 47 months in prison for attacking a Muslim woman and her husband outside of a store in England. Samsam Haji-Ali subsequently lost her twins just days after the Aug. 6 attack. Her husband, Abdullah Sulaiman, required stitches after being hit with a bottle.
During the attack, Gallacher yelled “you’re the f***ing problem with this place,” while Haji-Ali cried out about her unborn babies. He proceeded to kick her in the stomach and later spit on and threatened officers as they attempted to arrest him. Gallacher admitted to the assaults on Haji-Ali, Sulaiman, and the officers.
Gallacher is no stranger to crime with 23 convictions from 35 offenses. He is only serving time for the racially aggravated attacks on Haji-Ali and Sulaiman and the assaults on the arresting officers. Scans originally showed the pregnancy still viable immediately after the attack, making it hard to prove the babies were lost due to Gallacher’s actions.
The sentencing seems light, considering the loss of two innocent lives, but according to the Sentencing Council in the U.K., it is typical for the crimes committed. Due to the inability to prove the cause of miscarriage, Gallacher was not charged for their deaths. Judge Sheridan did go on to say that compensation was not awarded because he “could not put a price on the lost baby.”
A court system taking a stand to put the perpetrator of these heinous crimes behind bars is a step in the right direction. While the prosecution could have pushed for further proof of Gallacher’s part in the miscarriage, it could have led to undue pain and cost on Haji-Ali and Sulaiman should the Judge not be convinced. Any judge that will not only sentence a hate crime to the fullest extent of the law and verbally reprimand the inhumanity of their actions may very well help dissuade would-be criminals.
While this happened in the U.K., we are no strangers in the U.S. of hate crimes — and living in a country with a leader that encourages his followers to chant “build that wall” or “throw him out” only breeds hate and encourages hate crimes. It is going to take a lot of action from people to speak about and discourage hateful behavior if we are to see a more peaceful future.