Leeds City Council -v- Jarrett

County CourtJudgment

Case Number: H00LS132

In The County Court At Leeds

22 December 2023

His Honour Judge Gosnell

Leeds City Council


MR A TONGE (Solicitor) appeared on behalf of the Claimant
MR M MORROW (Solicitor) appeared on behalf of the Defendant


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  1. The defendant has accepted, today, that there was a breach of the injunction order yesterday when he was arrested by the police following an incident in Forward Leeds. I have considered very carefully what the defendant said to me about both this and the other matters that I am dealing with today and he has agreed that I can also deal with the question of punishment for three other breaches which took place on 14 December, 16 December and 17 December. Those three breaches took place at one of the two Leeds hospitals.
  2. The general facts of the first three breaches are virtually identical, in that it would appear that on each occasion, the defendant attended the hospital in order to obtain medical treatment and that having either had treatment or being refused treatment, then he refused to leave and was difficult with the staff and security. I accept his recollection today is that he was not difficult but I have clear evidence in relation to each of those breaches of what happened. Clearly, the people giving witness statements were sober at the time. They were doing their job. Unfortunately, because of the defendant’s condition, he is likely to have been drunk at the time these incidents happened and his recollection of them is not as accurate as it otherwise might be.
  3. I have explained to the defendant on numerous occasions that it is regrettable when he creates difficulties at the hospital because the people working there have important tasks to do and they should not be wasting their time on dealing with him rather than the people who need genuine medical assistance. The allegation which is most recent is dealt with in the statement of Adam Ambrose. He works for a charity which assists people with alcohol difficulties. He has been a support worker previously. He is probably someone who is used to dealing with people with alcohol addiction. His evidence is pretty compelling that the defendant’s behaviour was very poor. I know the defendant does not accept that part of the allegation but, realistically, I have his recollection when he was clearly drunk as against Mr Ambrose who has done what is an accurate, it would appear, witness statement without being overcritical. I am sure he could have said more than he actually did.
  4. Overall, however, I take a balanced view taking into account what the defendant said and what the other witnesses have said in relation to each of these four breaches. This is, possibly, the sixth or seventh time that I have sentenced the defendant, I am guessing, in relation to a breach of an antisocial behaviour order which, in its most recent form, was granted by District Judge Geddes on 31 January 2022. As the defendant knows, it is a structured process. I accept that custody must be reserved as punishment for the more serious breaches. It is only appropriate to pass a custodial sentence where no other remedy can be justified.
  5. In relation to the stepped approach, the first is to decide the seriousness of the breaches which deals with both culpability and harm. I am not going to summarise again in this judgment what the matrix is. What I can say is that, in my view, each of the incidents falls into the middle category of culpability and the middle category of harm because it is neither the more serious or the least serious of either case. The starting point for each breach would be one month in custody with a range from adjourned consideration to three months.
  6. In terms of aggravating factors, the main aggravating factor is the fact that the defendant breached this injunction on an admitted basis, I am thinking, 40 or 50 times, although he has, perhaps, only been sentenced four or five times. In this case, the defendant was only released from custody just over a week ago. All the allegations have taken place, effectively, within six days; all four of them. On each occasion, the defendant has had to go to the police station and be accommodated by them, being brought to court to see a judge. All of this is taking time and costs. In relation to three of the allegations, the defendant took up the time of people working in the medical profession, on the other occasion from a gentleman who has tried to help the less fortunate members of society in a worthwhile charity.
  7. In terms of the mitigating factors, the strongest mitigation is the fact that despite having pleaded not guilty when the defendant saw me on Monday, he has decided to plead guilty to all matters today. I accept general contrition on his behalf, particularly, shown by that attitude and, again, a realistic attitude which he showed before to the nature of his behaviour. I also accept his significant health difficulties. The defendant has a significant problem with alcohol addiction. He has spent a lot of the last few years in and out of custody and I wholly accept that when he is discharged from custody, he has a modest grant but no real assistance to getting accommodation and things he really needs in life. This is part of the problem. One might, however, say that spending money on vodka and cider is probably not the best way to resolve that problem.
  8. However, I take into account all those matters in deciding what the appropriate penalty should be. I think, bearing in mind the nature of the culpability and harm, bearing in mind the fact that there are four breaches, all within a short period of time, bearing in mind the principle of totality, the appropriate sentence would be one of eight weeks’ custody. However, I am prepared to make a deduction of two weeks representing a 25% deduction for guilty pleas. I do that because, on this most recent allegation, the defendant pleaded guilty at the first possible opportunity. However, in relation to the other three allegations, it is not the first opportunity. Mr Morrow will, no doubt, advise the defendant, that, in those circumstances, a 25% deduction is a fairly generous deduction for a guilty plea. I do so because I wish to record the fact that it recognises some reality and some acceptance on the defendant’s part of the difficulties that he faces and the fact that he wants to assist the Court with that.
  9. The defendant is also entitled to a deduction for time spent in custody. Because of that, what was a six-week sentence, which would be 42 days, will be reduced by a further period of four days because he has spent a day or part of four days in custody on each occasion and he is entitled to a deduction for each breach. Accordingly, that means that the sentence of this Court in relation to all four breaches is 38 days, to run concurrently with each other. Therefore, that is the maximum sentence. The defendant will serve one-half of that sentence, 19 days, in custody. He will be, then, automatically released at the end of that period. That is my sentence.