A MAN who took pictures inside crown court on his mobile phone, to prove to a doubting friend he was there, scored a “spectacular own goal”, a court heard.
Allan Owen found himself in contempt of court – and a judge handed him a suspended jail term for what his own barrister described as “crass stupidity”.
The 54-year-old married man, of Braithwaite Street, North Shore, was given 56 days prison, suspended for two years and ordered to pay £400 costs.
A judge had barred any publicity of the case until Owen had been dealt with for an appeal against a separate shoplifting conviction at B&Q in Blackpool. He has now won that appeal.
The appeal was the reason for his original appearance at Preston Crown Court. He went on to admit two offences of contempt of court, when brought back to the same court room.
Kimberley Obrusik, prosecuting, said photos had been taken of the electronic notice board, listing his name, outside the court room. However, photographs had also been taken inside the court room itself, moments before the judge entered.
It showed both prosecuting and defence counsel, as well as a court clerk and an usher. The phone was seized and it was found images had been sent to three named people on Owen’s contact list.
Miss Obrusik said: “The police came to the view the defendant was very remorseful. It would appear there was no intended malice and nothing sinister in his actions. He was simply showing off to his friends.”
He had told police in interview that while waiting for his appeal to be dealt with at court, his friend had texted him and had not believed he was in court. That was why he had taken the pictures and he had not known it was an offence to do that.
Chris Hudson, defending, said Owen now knew that it was a serious offence. He described his actions as a “spectacular own goal”, resulting from “crass stupidity”.
He had taken the photographs when his friend refused to believe that he was in court that day.
Mr Hudson added: “He is genuinely sorry and is also frightened. He has been told in no uncertain terms this sort of behaviour usually results in someone going straight to custody.”
Judge Christopher Cornwall told Owen: “Your extensive experience of criminal courts ought to have left you in no doubt it is against the law to take photographs in court.”