He pleaded guilty immediately so it was a sentencing exercise. We heard that he had damaged a car because it had tried to knock him down on a zebra crossing.
Unfortunately, the car in question had forward facing video...
Unusually, the video evidence was of very good quality. So much so that I thought of getting a quick copy to put on YouTube
So what happened was that the driver of the car, a rather nice 5 series Beemer on a 14 plate, so to all intents and purposes, new, had slowed to a halt at a zebra crossing to allow an old chap (the defendant) and a younger woman (his daughter) to cross the road.
The defendant was using a walking stick but even so, it was clear that he was milking the situation for all it was worth. However, the Beemer driver waited patiently. As the couple got directly in front of the car, the old boy stopped and started to look up the road. His daughter was clearly concerned at the delay and was trying to push him toward the kerb but he was having none of it and deliberately stood directly in front of the car which by now had a queue of cars behind (rearward facing video) as well. For how long this game might have continued was anybodies guess but one of the cars behind the Beemer decided to chivvy things along a bit with a few short blasts on the car horn. There was no audio to go with the video but we have no reason to doubt the word of the driver. Besides which it corresponds with what happened next.
The old chap turned around, rather more quickly than you would have expected, based upon the exaggerated slowness with which he had ambled over the first part of the crossing and with a look of pure rage, that was perfectly discernible on the video, flipped his walking stick over so he held the narrow end and started laying into the bodywork of the Beemer with quite some power. A second later, there were two bangs on the windscreen, which splintered across the full width and the video shook with the force of further blows. We were told that those sitting in the car, a couple with two children, were absolutely terrified and having seen the video the Bench could well believe it.
At this point, the video was of no further use as the windscreen was completely obscured by the damage which, apparently was struck a total of four times.
The old boy was restrained by his daughter and a couple of pedestrians and eventually the daughter spoke to the driver, gave him her business card and apparently agreed to accept financial responsibility.
The old chap was later arrested, charged and released on bail to attend today. He had no previous convictions other than a GBH... in 1968.
We saw photographs of the damage, taken by the Police and to say that the front of the car was a mess is to wildly understate the case.
The walking stick was exhibited to the Court. One of those wooden ones which appear to ave been carved out of a single tree branch, with a very substantial handle which seemed just like a hammer, looking not unlike a shillelagh.
The official estimate for repairs was handed to us and totalled some Â£6800 - nice
The defendant sat in stony silence throughout, with his arms crossed, glaring at anybody who got in his eyeline. In fact, he gave a no comment interview to the Police and also glared at them, showing no signs of remorse, even when told that there were two young children in the car.
We remanded him on bail pending a pre-sentence report.
You meet all sorts...