A chap in his mid twenties pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol this morning. He was to be disqualified for 3 years as he had a previous conviction for the same offence within the last ten years.
Reviewing his previous convictions prior to sentencing we noticed two previous offences of driving while disqualified as well.
In sentencing, I gave him the usual warning about driving while disqualified being a very serious offence for which a sentencing Bench would be considering a custodial sentence.
His blood / alcohol level was sufficiently high that he received a four month sentence suspended for 12 months.
I asked if he'd driven to Court, to which I received a negative answer so I reminded him, based upon his previous, what might happen. This was quite early in this morning's proceedings, approximately 10:20.
At 3:45. our legal advisor looked up at the Bench and said "in addition to your lists your worships, I have a case in the cells which needs dealing with."
You'll never guess who appeared in the dock, escorted by two dock officers
Apparently the chap had walked out of the Court, across the road to the Civic Centre car park, a distance of some 50 metres, got in his car, and drove out of the car park, only to have his way blocked by a Police car. He was arrested, taken to Bilston Street Police station, and charged with driving while disqualified, being brought to the Court at 12:30.
His solicitor entered a plea of guilty for him and began a very desultory mitigation, well it would be wouldn't it
He said "My client is concerned that he might receive a custodial sentence today and instructs me that he has learned his lesson and hopes the Bench will be lenient."
A this point bravado got the better of the defendant and he made a comment from the dock, mostly indistinct, but suggesting that the Bench was too "pussy" to send him down.
His solicitor sat down, folded his arms and looked skyward for inspiration.
Having previously seen the defendant's record, we knew that he was familiar with the Judicial system. A fact I took advantage of in addressing addressing him.
I said, ""You told us that you hadn't driven to Court today" which received the reply "So what?" After a second or two I said, "Mr. XXX, do you know what perjury is?
He clearly did because the blood drained from his face as he contemplated the possibility of a Five to Seven year sentence being handed down at Crown Court.
His solicitor raised an eye-brow at my question because, of course the defendant hadn't committed perjury, his comment not having been made when bound by oath.
I said nothing further on that subject but proceeded to sentence the defendant to four months in prison without waiting for the formality of a pre-sentence report. We also activated the previous suspended sentence to run consecutively. It had taken him roughly 15 minutes to breach it.
We further placed a deprivation order on his car, a 2009 Ford Focus ST. It will either be sold with any profits going to the exchequer or it will be crushed.
Apparently, when the Police stopped him he was somewhat shocked and surprised, until it was explained to him that the Police regularly set up an operation with one officer in the Court, another in the Civic Centre car park and a marked patrol car parked just out of sight of the Court building.
That this had surprised the defendant leads me to believe that he was either staggeringly arrogant or terminally stupid.
As some of you may recall, that wasn't the first time I'd dealt with a similar situation.