A DISTRICT judge paid a thief’s debt to the court out of his own pocket after claiming the Government should scrap a rule which makes victim surcharges automatic.
Daniel Northridge, of Fritchley Court, Oak Tree Lane estate, Mansfield, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft at Mansfield Magistrates Court.
Robert Carr, prosecuting, told the court how Northridge (20) stole two letters from a shared mailbox in his block of flats as he was ‘skint’ and looking for money in Christmas cards.
Northridge was spotted on CCTV following the thefts on 19th December and arrested.
The court was told he had previous convictions for theft and burglary and following a third theft he was recalled to custody for 28 days for being in breach of his licence.
Mr Carr said: “It was a theft from a shared mailbox at his block of flats.
“He was skint and hoped their might be some money in the Christmas cards.”
Sarah Neale, defending, said Northridge suffered from anxiety and depression.
She added how his mum had died, his father was in and out of prison and his brother had committed suicide.
District judge Tim Devas handed Northridge a six month community order with supervision and ordered him to pay a £1 victim’s surcharge - a compulsory requirement with the money going into a fund to support victims of crime.
Due to Northridge’s limited means, Judge Devas put his hand in his pocket and gave £1 to the clerk to clear the debt.
“The sooner the Government changes it the better,” he said.
“There’s no one here from the press is there?”
After noticing a Chad reporter on the press bench he added: “My chances of getting a knighthood are pretty slim anyway.”
Passing sentence, Judge Devas said: “Particularly at that time of year, this was a very mean offence. When letters or cards from loved ones go missing it’s very upsetting.”
This wasn’t the first time Judge Devas has hit the headlines for comments in court.
After the 2011 riots, he told one defendant appearing at Nottingham Crown Court: “Get a life, sort yourself out.”
In March 2009 at Manchester Magistrates Court, Judge Devas sent Labour Councillor Noel O’Brien to the cells for his behaviour in the dock.
O’Brien was held in contempt when he turned to the judge and called him ‘stupid’.