A 47-year-old man has been charged with contempt of court after custody officers deemed he was too drunk to appear before the Magistrate to be sentenced for a separate drinking offence.
Alex John Nicholas was due to be sentenced for one count of being drunk and disorderly on 24 January, but he was instead sent into custody after officers deemed he was too drunk to appear for the hearing.
Yesterday, Nicolas appeared before the Magistrate’s Court to answer both charges.
Magistrate Bridget Shaw heard that on 15 October, police received reports of Nicolas lying on the pavement outside the hospital.
Paramedics had been called earlier, and had reported there were no medical concerns.
Pictured: Nicolas was lying on the pavement outside the hospital.
When officers arrived in front of the hospital, several members of the public were standing around Nicolas while several onlookers stood nearby.
Nicolas was swearing and when officers told him to stop he started arguing with them.
They said Nicolas showed “no ability to reason” and continued to shout and swear. They gave him a final warning and warned him that if he didn’t change his conduct he would be arrested.
Nicolas didn’t stop and was later arrested then charged with being drunk and disorderly.
Legal Adviser Lauren Hallam explained that on 24 January, when Nicolas was due to hear his sentence, a custody officer informed the court that Nicolas was too drunk to appear. They stated Nicolas smelled of intoxicants and was so incapacitated they wouldn’t manage to get him up the stairs.
Pictured: Advocate Alison Brown was defending Nicolas.
Advocate Alison Brown, defending, said Nicolas did not have “a great recall” of the events.
“This is a man who struggles with alcohol,” she told the Court, adding that “clearly works needs to be done to suppress this.”
She said she couldn’t add “anything of help with regards to the defence”. She told the Court Nicolas was residing at the shelter and receiving £13 a day for sustenance.
She argued that since Nicolas had spent the weekend in custody, it was a “penalty in itself”, which Magistrate Shaw took into account.
As she would have imposed a custodial sentence for the contempt offence, Magistrate Shaw sentenced Nicolas to four days in prison, which meant he could be released after the hearing.
She also imposed a three-month binding over order for the drunk and disorderly charge, and warned Nicolas he would face custody if he came back before court for any offence within the next three months.
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