Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Today in court

Dez the musician

arrested for singing protest songs (video) in Beverley the other Saturday because one verse had the word 'arse' in it, pleaded not guilty.  He is accused of:
threatening or abusive words or behaviour within sight of persons likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress.
So it goes to a 1 day trial on the 17th July in Bridlington.  (The Beverley Courts are too busy in July.)

Meanwhile he is banned from Beverley, as a bail condition.  As he is now living at Crawberry Hill protectors camp this means the nearest centre for shopping or public transport is now impossible.

So he can't, for example, use the train station in Beverley to travel to his court case.

However, he has been invited to play at Beverley Folk Festival in a couple of weeks time.  So the judge, recognising that playing music is, 'what he does', relaxed the condition for the weekend 19th-22nd June so he can attend.

Dominic Solo Hero

Dominic bravely made a single person protest in front of Rathlin's convoy last Thursday.

The majority of his life is lived in close contact with nature, and an essential tool that he uses many times a day is his folding camping knife, that he's owned since he was 16.  It's normally left in his tent, but in the sudden confusion of the arrival of large numbers of police and the equipment convoy he ended up sprinting to the end of the road without chance to consider and leave his tool.  The blade is 3 1/2 inches long.  The legal limit for possession of a knife in a public place is 3".

He was accused of "blocking" a public highway, but the judge was more concerned about the more serious offence of possessing a blade in public, as the sentencing guidelines recommended a custodial sentence.  He pleaded not guilty to both.

However the judge recognised that Dominic was, "not for one moment a knife wielding criminal" and in trying to find a swift, reasonable solution encouraged the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to offer him to "bind over to keep the peace".  The CPS refused.

After some negotiation Dominic changed his plea to Guilty, and the judge concluded:
The courts are rightly concerned with blades and the level of sentencing.
You have this tool as part of your lifestyle, and may live as you wish within the law ... [the knife] innocently kept in a public place.
If  not reasonably in a public place it is normally a custodial sentence.  However as he has no previous convictions, lives his own way of life and wandered in to a public place I will move away from the guidelines.
... a 2 year conditional discharge. 
This means he will not be punished unless found guilty of another crime within the next 2 years.  If he is found guilty of another crime of a similar nature within 2 years the consequences "will be serious".

The other charge of blocking a public highway was dropped, and his treasured camping knife will be destroyed.

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