Tag Archives: criminal damage

Dirty protest in Doncaster – Conviction appeal fails

Dirty protest

We became aware of a story about a man from Doncaster who staged a dirty protest at a police cell. The Star reported  that Allen Vincent appeared in court for a two-day hearing in front of a judge and two magistrates.

Putting the scraps of information together, we can safely assume that Allen Vincent appealed against his conviction (in the Magistrates’ Court) for criminal damage. 

Vincent suffers from autism, Aspergers syndrome and bilateral permanent hearing loss. He appeared at the court wearing a ‘not guilty’ label stuck to his forehead. 

The facts

Vincent was arrested in February for breaching bail conditions and was detained at Doncaster police station. A nurse attended to assess his fitness to be detained by the police but he refused to co-operate. The next morning, it was reported that he was found naked and had covered himself with excrement and written on the walls (presumably with excrement). 

He swore and threw excrement at a duty officer and urinated on a cell door. He also refused to clean himself up. The Star reported that he did not accept that he had damaged the cell and had been unlawfully arrested several times. 

The offence

Criminal damage is an offence under the Criminal Damage Act 1971. Section 1(1) states:

A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property belonging to another intending to destroy or damage any such property or being reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged shall be guilty of an offence.

The fact that the cell would not have been permanently damaged does not preclude a conviction for criminal damage (Roe v Kingerlee [1986] CLR 735 – smearing ‘mud’ on the wall of a police cell that had to be cleaned off was criminal damage).

The appeal

We can assume then that upon pleading not guilty in the Magistrates’ Court, he was convicted after a trial and appealed his conviction. 

That appeal is to the Crown Court in front of a circuit judge (a crown court judge) and two magistrates (from the magistrates’ court – but not the same magistrates as presided over the trial). There are more details available here about appeals from the Magistrates’ Court to the Crown Court. 

Because Vincent has difficulties communicating, he was permitted to submit in writing his complaints. We understand those complaints relate to what Vincent considers to be his unlawful treatment. 

The Judge said he had sympathy with Vincent but that Vincent knew what he was doing.

The result

The appeal appears to have been successful in part. Unfortunately for Mr Vincent, the successful part did not relate to the conviction. 

The conviction appeal was rejected, presumably on the basis that Vincent’s assertion that he did not ‘damage’ the cell was rejected. 

The order for costs (£405) and a compensation order (an unspecified amount) were quashed. 

The community order (12 months in length) remained. It is unclear the requirements which were attached.

‘Slurry pervert’ threatens to kill farmer

Truscott, DavidWell when we saw the headline ‘Camborne man with slurry fetish back in court over threats to kill farmer’ we couldn’t resist.

David Truscott, aged 43, 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.

He was subject to a restraining order imposed after a ‘campaign of harrassment’ – lasting at least six years – against the family who own the farm. He had breached the order twice, by going onto the farm and rolling naked in the slurry. He was imprisoned for both breaches.

The family subsequently cleared the slurry from the farm in an attempt to stop Mr Truscott.

So what next for Truscott? Well he has most recently pleaded to making a threat to kill the farmer and ‘threatening to damage’ the farm (it is unclear which offence has been charged).

The news story can be accessed here.

What did the court say?

Well Mr Truscott has not yet been sentenced. The Judge said:

“His conduct is bizarre and raises the question of whether he is a dangerous offender. I would like to see a psychiatric report that addresses dangerousness.”

I have read the letter from the multi agency protection coordinator and it is clear there needs to be a psychiatric report, at least one, if not two.

Comment

The statement by the judge indicates that Mr Truscott may finally receive the help that he quite clearly needs. A disposal under the Mental Health Act 1983 involves detention in a secure hospital and treatment for any mental illness which has been diagnosed.

In 2011, when Mr Truscott was before the courts for offences in relation to his delictation for
pleasuring himself whilst surrounded by slurry. His brother, speaking to a local newspaper, called for the courts to help Mr Truscott, instead of sending him to custody.

He said: “This is the fourth time he has been caught and when he is released from prison he will probably do it again. The courts need to wake up and give him the help he needs.”

A finding that Mr Truscott is dangerous means that the judge must imposed a special type of sentence. This will be an EDS Extended Determinate Sentence, which comprises of a custodial sentence and then an extended licence period. The licence period is designed to protect the public from serious harm caused by the defendant.

A disposal under the Mental Health Act would, it appears, be a far better outcome, as Mr Truscott would be able to receive treatment and medication if necessary, and to properly address the causes for his offending. Instead of imprisoning him, and releasing him without really attempting to understand why Mr Truscott continues to act as he does.

We’ll keep an eye out for reports of the sentence.