Case heard outside of court doors for the first time
By z4027672030, Sep 2 2015 11:08AM
A disabled paedophile has made legal history by having his court case held in open air – a first in the UK – as the court had no wheelchair access.
He arrived to attend his trial at York Crown Court, but found he was unable to make it up the steps into the building, which was built back in 1777. Both the trial’s judge, Recorder of York Stephen Ashurst, and the defence barrister, Glen Parsons agreed that 47 year-old Newman could not possibly get inside the building, and so the decision was made to take the case outside below the stone steps, still within the boundaries of the court.
Together with prosecutor David Lampitt, the case was heard out in the sunshine, with the court clerk reading out the single charge against Newman. He immediately pleaded guilty to possessing over a thousand indecent images of children, with the hearing lasting just a matter of minutes. The case was then adjourned for probation reports, with Newman freed on bail, to face sentencing at Scarborough magistrates court.
Cases such as these may have several consequences for the legal system. For instance, they have raised awareness of how difficult it still is for disabled people to access the courts, despite laws being put in place to make public buildings more accessible. It may also pave the way for more cases to be held outside of court, for instance in circumstances such as living in an incredibly remote area.
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Image: Kaly99, available under Creative Commons