Blackpool: From the courts 04-02-17

Blackpool Magistrates Court
Blackpool Magistrates Court
Have your say

Here is a round-up of some of the cases at Blackpool Magistrates Court.

Christina Brooks, an offence under the Sexual Offences Amendment Act 1992

A woman “outed” the female victim of a sex predator by putting a picture of her and comments about her on the Facebook.

Christina Brooks was a close friend of the man convicted of sex offences on a young teenager and when he was branded a child sex abuser in The Gazette decided to take revenge on his accuser.

The victim’s identity is protected by law but Brooks posted her name on Facebook together with a picture of the victim, a court heard.

Brooks of Walmsley Street, Fleetwood, pleaded guilty to an offence under the Sexual Offences Amendment Act 1992.

She was charged with an offence that between August 16 and 19 last year she published comments and a still photograph on The Gazette’s Facebook page which led members of the public to identify a victim of rape and sex offences. The victim was aged between 13 and 15 at the time of those offences, she is now an adult.

A judge heard how officials had sought the permission of the Attorney General to bring the unusual charge against Brooks. Three other people were investigated one of whom received an official police caution for their online comments.

Prosecutor Adrian Hollamby told Blackpool Magistrates Court that last year Robert Hanson had been convicted of sex offences against an underage victim.

Hanson, 33, was said to have groomed the girl for sex and they had a child together during their five year relationship.

Hanson was found guilty by a jury of four sex offences and was bailed by a judge at Preston Crown Court pending sentence

One the day he was due to be sentenced he committed suicide and police found his body found at a house on Bowness Avenue, Cleveleys, on August 15 last year.

The prosecutor said: “The Gazette ran a story about his death under the headline ‘child sex abuser found dead’. The paper did not identify his victim.”

Brooks’ posting was seen by the victim who reported it to the police.

“During interview Brooks admitted what she had done and said she regarded Hanson as being like a brother to her,” said Mr Hollamby. “She was angry and said she did not realise the victim’s name was protected.”

Patrick Nelligan,defending, said: “What she did was in the heat of the moment and now understands the implications of what she did.

“She was unhappy with the headline.”

Sentencing the mother-of-one District Judge Jeff Brailsford told her: “At a time when emotions were running high you decided to right what you saw to be a wrong but by doing that created another wrong

“By doing so you exposed this lady’s picture making it easy for her to be indentified which is illegal.

“This is only punishable by a fine.”

“Do not even think about doing this sort of thing again.”

Brooks was fined £250 and was ordered to pay £35 victims’ surcharge and £85 court costs.

Matthew Rimmer, 23, criminal damage

A tenant at sheltered accommodation who had not slept for four days was heard trashing his flat by a staff member.

Matthew Rimmer damaged an intercom, cupboards, a bedside table and wardrobe door and broken crockery littered the area.

Rimmer, 23, of Warrenhurst Court, Warrenhurst Road, Fleetwood, pleaded guilty to causing damage.

He was given a 12 months conditional discharge and ordered to pay £100 compensation with £85 costs plus £20 victims’ surcharge by magistrates.

Prosecutor, Pam Smith, said a staff member at Warrenhurst Court heard banging coming from Rimmer’s flat on January 3, which sounded as though he was damaging property there.

The police were called and as officers entered the accommodation Rimmer ran out of the back.

Malcolm Cartwright, defending, said his client was on medication for depression, but he had not had his tablets for six days because of a lack of chemists’ opening over the festive period.

As a result he had been unable to sleep for four days and this resulted in him exploding and causing the damage.

The defence added that some of the damage was to items belonging to Rimmer such as the crockery. Rimmer had apologised and had not been asked to leave the sheltered accommodation.

Robert Aspinall, 20, failure to comply with community order

A student who had been ordered by magistrates to go to an attendance centre after committing two offences of theft failed to carry out the court’s order.

Robert Aspinall, 20, of Fylde Street, Kirkham, pleaded guilty to not complying with a community order.

He was sentenced to do 20 hours unpaid work for the community and ordered to still complete 20 hours at an attendance centre by magistrates.

Peter Moran, prosecuting for the probation service, said Aspinall had been sentenced to spend 20 hours at an attendance centre for two offences of shoplifting. He only attended an induction appointment and did not go to the attendance centre on any other occasion.

Patrick Nelligan, defending, said his client had been at college studying a business course and had also worked part-time in a card shop. Aspinall had buried his head in the sand and spent time working and studying rather than going to the attendance centre. His part-time job had now ended.

David Valentine, 24, failure to comply with community order

A man with problems whose twins were ill and had spent time in hospital became confused over his probation appointments.

David Valentine, who had medical issues and difficulties reading and writing, missed appointments with his probation officer and failed to do unpaid work.

Valentine, 24, of Broadwater Avenue, Fleetwood, pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a community order.

He was sentenced to a 28 days tagged curfew from 8pm to 6am and his community order was extended by four months by magistrates.

Peter Moran, prosecuting for the probation service, said in March last year Valentine was put on a community order with 25 days rehabilitation for an offence of damage.He breached the order and 20 hours unpaid work for the community was added to it.