Court blog

Lancashire Post and Blackpool Gazette
Created by Lancashire Post and Blackpool Gazette
On Sep 12, 2019
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Today's schedule includes three sentences, five appeals, six trials and 15 other types of hearing at the Crown Court.

But most of today's action is at Preston Magistrates' Court, where 175 cases are due to be heard - more than 120 of them are prosecutions for speeding.


10.18am: A man has admitted possessing indecent images of children, and extreme images involving animals.

The charges against David Patrick Johnstone, 62, of Princess Way, Euxton, Chorley, date back to April 2018.

The bench at Preston Magistrates' Court has been told he had seven images deemed category A - the gravest in law - seven at category B and 45 at Category C images.

Investigators also found 51 extreme pornographic images.

10.20am: The bench has decided the charges are too serious to be dealt with by their limited powers.

They have committed his sentencing to Preston Crown Court, which has tougher sentencing powers.

He will next appear there on October 14.

10.23am: A pub worker has admitted drink driving.

Saqib Mohammed Baig, 23, of York Street, Church, Accrington, East Lancashire, was caught travelling at speed on North Road in Preston on August 26.

Police breathalysed him and he had 52 microgrammes of alcohol in his breath - the legal limit is 35mg.

He told them he was returning from work at a pub in the city and had 'had a drink'.

Tracy Yates, prosecuting, said officers were in an unmarked car at 6am when they saw a vehicle speeding on North Road. He told them he worked at a pub and had had a drink.

Defending, Michael Leech said he had no previous convictions and was remorseful.

The bench has retired to consider his sentence.

10.33am: The bench has returned.

The court is imposing a £126 fine, £32 surcharge, and £85 costs.

He has been disqualified for 14 months.

10.38am: Another accused drink driver is now being led into the dock.

Darren Kenneth Bradbury, 40, of Burslem Avenue, Manchester, allegedly had 41mg of alcohol in his breath when caught driving on the M55 at Kirkham on August 28 this year.

10.41am: Prosecuting, Tracy Yates said around 5pm that evening, officers on the M55 saw a black Audi A3 travelling between 96mph and 104mph, and pulled it over.

Bradbury provided a positive sample.

He has 19 convictions for 29 offences, including motoring matters.

Defending, Michael Leech said he had been 'fully cooperative'.

10.52am: The bench has ruled Bradbury must pay a total of £237 in fines, surcharges and costs.

He was also given a 14 month ban due to the fact he was driving at high speeds during rush hour in the motorway.

10.56am: It's a very busy day for motoring matters! A third drink driver is making an appearance in court.

Shaun Peter Lawless, 25, of Hawksbury Drive, Kingsfold, Penwortham, Preston, admits driving a Renault Clio on Capitol Way on August 24 while double the legal limit.

Prosecuting, Tracy Yates explained at 2.57am staff at the Capitol Centre McDonalds contacted police to report a man had gone through the Drive-Thru - they saw him drinking from a can of Foster's beer.

At 3.14am police attended and found him in a parking bay.

He is currently subject to a community order for stalking.

Defending, Michael Leech said Lawless had been at a party and had gone in his car but there was no plan to drive home.

However, there was trouble at the party so he felt compelled to leave.

He said he had decided to go to McDonald's to get something to eat, and was planning to stay in his car and sober up before driving again.

The bench has retired to consider his sentence.

Lawless was found in a parking bay at the Capitol Centre

11.10am: The bench imposed a £120 fine, a £32 surcharge and £85 costs.

It will be consolidated with the amount he currently owes the court - which will be deducted from his benefits.

He was also given a 20 month road ban.

11.14am: A man accused of damaging two cars has been called into the court room.

Luke Yates, 30, of Bannister Drive, Leyland, is accused of two counts of criminal damage.

it is alleged he damaged the wing mirrors of two cars in an incident on August 24, valued at £150 and £200.

Barrister's public house, Leyland

11.18am: He has pleaded guilty to both offences.

Prosecuting, Tracy Yates said reports were made to police that he had been causing issues outside The Barrister's pub in Leyland.

He left the premises, but was seen on CCTV to damage the wing mirrors of cars belonging to landlord Justin Protheroe and DJ Thomas King.

Police attended and the defendant said he had been to a christening and 'couldn't remember' if he was responsible for the damage as he was drunk on vodka and Red Bulls.

He said the last thing he remembered was dancing in the Barristers.

When shown the CCTV footage he said he didn't know why he had done it.

He has six convictions for nine offences.

The bench has retired to consider his sentence.

11.37am: The bench has returned.

The chairman said she had considered the circumstances.

He has been ordered to pay fines totalling a £333 fine, £33 surcharge, and £85 costs.

He must also pay £150 compensation to the landlord and £200 compensation to the DJ.

11.42am: A man accused of cultivating cannabis has been called into the court room.

 Alan Carl Baxendale, 37, of Spendmore Lane, Coppull, Chorley, faces a charge of producing a class B drug.

The offence relates to July 31 last year.


11.47am: Baxendale, who told police he had learned to grow cannabis by "watching You Tube", has pleaded guilty to the offence.

Prosecuting, Tracy Yates said: " Police attended Darlington Street in Coppull where he then lived, to reports of a female screaming.
"Upon their attendance they found a small cannabis production set up in the kitchen. The defendant said it was a production for his own use.
"There were nine plants with a relatively unsophisticated set up. Police gave an estimated yield
of 480 grams.
"The defendant, in interview, said he grew cannabis for himself. The house was a private tenancy in his girlfriend's name but he said the landlord knew he lived there.

She added: "He said he harvested his first grow at Christmas, smoked it over the year, and the new crops had been planted three weeks earlier.
"He said he watered them once a day and he learned how to grow it by watching You Tube videos."

He told officers he "smokes it all day every day" and had bypassed the electric meter in order to grow it.

Defendant learned to grow cannabis by watching You Tube videos

11.57am: The court is told he has 32 convictions for 44 offences, including previous possession of cannabis matters and supplying drugs.

He is currently subject to a court order for criminal damage.

Greg Earnshaw, defending, said: "It was a small production for his own use, he said it's all mine and she {girlfriend} knows nothing about it.

" He says he was depressed at the time as his mother had been very ill. A wound to her leg has become so bad it will eventually have to be amputated.

"He lives with his mother at the moment."

The bench has retired to consider his sentence.

12.07pm: Baxendale has been given a £120 fine, £85 costs and a £30 surcharge.

They ordered the plants, seedlings and any other equipment to be destroyed.

The chairman of the bench told him he had to "make a benefit claim or get a job" after being told he was relying on his poorly mother.

Usually the court can attach the fines to a benefits claim if a defendant has one, but if they don't have a claim, they have to pay they full amount within 14 days or face bailiffs turning up at their doorstep for the outstanding costs.

Darlington Street in Coppull, where the small plantation was found

12.32pm:  The magistrates' bench has agreed to issue a warrant for a woman accused of theft, who has failed to attend court.

Lisa McFarlane, 34, of Bashall Grove, Farington, Leyland, is accused of stealing a chicken Caesar wrap and two jars of coffee, to the value of £13, from Tesco Express.

12.52pm: The case of man who made a hoax call to police reporting a man with a handgun had entered his mother's home has been called on.

The actions of Kieron Hampson, 29, of Oxford Street, Preston, are reported to have caused several police resources to be deployed to the property on Parker Street, Preston.

He has pleaded guilty to causing wasteful employment of police on April 26 this year.

(More details will be revealed after the lunchtime adjournment.)

1pm: The court has adjourned for lunch.

2.15pm: More details about the 'hoax call case' are emerging.

Prosecuting, Peter Bardsley said at 10.22pm, Hampson had made a phone call to Lancashire Police reporting a man with a gun was in his mother's home.

However, earlier in the evening he had fallen out with his mother who had refused to lend him money.

Facts about hoax calls

2.21pm: The court hears Hampson, who is already subject to a suspended sentence for threatening someone with a bladed article, was intoxicated at the time.

As several police resources were being deployed to the address, Hampson then texted his mother saying: " Armed police" were going to enter her home.

2.30pm: The concerned mum then contacted police herself, telling them he was upset because she would not lend him money.

At this point it became clear it was a hoax, and armed police did not enter her home.

Facts about the offence of 'Wasting Police Time'

Under s 5(2) of the Criminal Law Act 1967 (CLA 1967), it is an offence to cause a wasteful employment of the police by knowingly making a false report – either orally or in writing – to the police or anyone else that:

2.40pm: The bench granted him a two year conditional discharge, with a £30 surcharge and £85 costs.

3.05pm: A mum and her children were left terrified when a stranger hammered on their door and forced his way in in the middle of the night - causing her to have to barricade herself and her children in a bedroom by pushing a kingsize bed across a doorway.

Zak Anthony Weyer, 20, of Crompton Street, Preston, pleaded guilty to using violence to secure entry to premises.

3.23pm: The court heard on April 6 the mum woke to hear banging noises on her door, with the man demanding to see a child.

Prosecuting, Peter Bardsley said they were not known to each other. 

3.30pm: Weyer then went to the back of the house and smashed a patio window in order to get in.

The terrified mum heard the smash, but had managed to ring police and lock her children in an en suite bathroom at this point.

3.40pm: Weyer was arrested at the scene as police arrived, the court is told.

3.45pm: The bench has considered a pre sentence report written by the probation service.

They have imposed a 40 day rehabilitation activity requirement and ordered him to pay the woman £520 compensation.

4pm: That concludes today's coverage.

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