A man who vaulted out of the Magistrate’s Court dock before throwing a crutch he was using at a terrified official has been sent to jail for one year and nine months.
31-year-old Robert Kevin Passman was sentenced by the Royal Court on Friday, having pleaded guilty to forcefully escaping from lawful custody, causing malicious damage to a prison cell and a single charge of assault.
The assault took place last September, when Passman punched a woman whom he accused of drugging him then arranging for a man to rape him in her presence.
The police investigated this allegation and found no evidence to support his claims.
The woman suffered heavy facial swelling and Passman was arrested, immediately admitting he had punched her. While in custody, he kicked his cell door, which injured his foot, so he was taken to A&E, where he was given crutches for ligament damage.
On 18 September, Passman appeared in the Magistrate’s Court, where a bail application was made, which was refused by the judge.
Outlining the facts of the case on Friday, Crown Advocate Rebecca Morley-Kirk said: “[Passman then] stood up and vaulted over the edge of the dock, shouting ‘So, you are sending a rape victim to prison’.
“He dropped down on to the Courtroom floor, still in possession of the two crutches he had with him.”
Pictured: Passman tried to escape from lawful custody at the Magistrate's Court last September.
Advocate Morley-Kirk said that Passman then moved towards the Greffier and Deputy Magistrate at the front of the court and threw a crutch towards them, which hit the Greffier on her arm.
Court staff then tried to pull him down to the floor and a violent struggle followed. With Passman punching and kicking out and resisting all attempts to be restrained, it eventually took five people to control him.
The Greffier later said she had felt terrified but did not want to make a complaint.
Last November, while still on remand at HMP La Moye, Passman asked several times to move wings due to concerns about catching Covid. With this still being considered by prison management, he smashed his cell sink, TV, glass door and cell phone, as well as damage a desk and safe, causing around £580 worth of damage.
Defending, Advocate Frances Littler said that her client accepted that his actions in the Magistrate’s Court would have been frightening and he intended to write a letter of apology after sentencing.
She drew the Royal Court’s attention to Passman’s “very unhappy childhood”, his diagnosed mental health issues, but also his recent reduction in alcohol and drug use.
She added that her client had not offended since 2012, before this “unfortunate blemish on an otherwise unblemished eight-year record.”
In agreeing with the Crown’s recommended sentence, Commissioner Julian Clyde-Smith, who was sitting with Jurats Jane Ronge and Elizabeth Dulake, said that Passman had a “troubled history” which included living in a “chaotic and abusive household” and early substance abuse.
But despite considering all the mitigation, he said, the Court had concluded that a prison sentence was its only option.
He also gave Passman a five-year restraining order.
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