Last year, David Truscott pleaded guilty to making threats to kill and damaging property (most likely ‘criminal damage’).
The basic history is that Mr Truscott has a particular penchant for rolling around in slurry whilst sexually pleasuring himself. In doing so he had, over a lengthy period of time, engaged in a course of harassment against the farmer in question. He was made subject to a restraining order – an order which prohibits an individual from doing particular acts, going to particular places or contacting particular people – which he subsequently breached. Twice. He was imprisoned for both breaches (2006 and 2011).
Truscott, now aged 44, was found naked at Woodbury House Farm, covered in mud and slurry and surrounded by tissues. He has reportedly been caught numerous times
sexually pleasuring himself, naked, whilst surrounded by slurry.
Mental health issues
The issue of Truscott’s mental health was raised last year and he was given an interim hospital order.
An interim hospital order has a maximum length of 12 weeks and enables medical practitioners to assess the offender before a final disposal – the sentence.
It can only be made where a person has been convicted of an offence punishable with imprisonment, the offender is suffering from a mental disorder and a hospital order is thought to be appropriate, the court may make an interim hospital order.
Last year, we questioned whether Truscott would end up with a ‘full’ Hospital Order when he was eventually sentenced. It is possible to add a ‘restriction order’ to a Hospital Order which means that the individual cannot be released until his detention is no longer necessary for the protection of the public.
Last week, Truscott was sentenced.
It was reported that he received an extended sentence of 10 years, comprising a custodial term of 5 years and an extended licence of 5 years. This means that the Judge considered that Truscott posed ‘a substantial risk of serious harm’ to members of the public – this is known as the ‘dangerousness’ criteria.
The release rules for extended sentences are different to ‘ordinary’ imprisonment; offenders must serve 2/3 of the custodial term before release (and in some circumstances even longer). This means Truscott will serve 40 months in prison and then 80 months on licence.
The BBC reported: Judge Philip Wassall said Truscott, who has autism spectrum disorder, would spend the first five years of his prison sentence receiving hospital treatment.
So the position wasn’t entirely clear. Was it a Hospital Order, or was it an extended sentence? The BBC actually reported that he had been jailed for 5 years, which is a bit misleading.
So what is the true position?
It appears that in fact, the Judge imposed what is known as a Hybrid Order – a mixture of a prison sentence and a hospital order. A Hybrid Order is suitable where the offender suffers from a mental illness but there is also a need to protect the public, meaning that Truscott cannot be released until a) his mental health improves and b) he has served the necessary time under the extended sentence.
We know too little about the facts of the offences and of Truscott’s mental health situation, and whether or not the imposition of a Hybrid Order was challenged by Truscott’s representatives at the sentencing hearing, and so it is impossible to say.
However it could be argued that a Hybrid Order where the imprisonment is an extended sentence (which deals with the ‘risk’ posed by the offender) is wrong in principle as the ‘risk’ would be adequately dealt with by medical treatment of the hospital order with a restriction order added on. Watch this space.