A young man who suffers from ADHD, PTSD, OCD, depression, suicidal urges, learning difficulties, acute childhood trauma, aspergers syndrome and a nervous speech impediment is walking through Stockport Town Centre. The police randomly stop him, because he looks like he is someone who has been in trouble. He is heavily tattooed.
The police establish that he is not wanted in relation to any criminal offence but search him anyway. He is found with the neck of a broken bottle in his rucksack. He explained he was sleeping rough in a tent and used the bottle neck the threaten people if they tried to rob him whilst he slept in his tent. (this is not a legal defence)
His case was adjourned for a Pre Sentence Report. In the report the Probation service remarked how much progress the young man had made following his arrest. He had accessed crisis accommodation and was being housed. He had accessed counselling services for his PTSD and Depression. He had had regular meetings with a psychiatrist to address his childhood trauma (the beatings and the bruisings from his dad and the lack of protection from his mum, before she left) Regular medication from his GP which was controlling his moods. Contact with the DWP who had restored his universal credit and sickness benefit. He was in the best place he had been in for years. He had even seen his 5 year old son for the first time in 2 years. He had applied for a government back to work training program.
All that we needed to do was to make the Court understand how fragile the care arrangements were and how much work all the agencies had done to prop this vulnerable person up. And support him.
All I needed to do was to try to persuade the court to allow the arrangements to continue and allow him to be rehabilitated and try to lead a law abiding life. With all the challenges he faces and the disabilities he is carrying. I asked the bench for mercy and understanding.
Of course, he was sent to prison for 6 months. Undoing everything. Thanks your worships
To misquote Oscar Wilde (I’m sure he’d approve) You can never be too kind to someone who has been treated so cruelly.
Yup. Magistrates; Cruel folk doing a job they are totally unfit for. Really badly. Innit’
Judges. Next blog.