You know how it is – you’re in a relationship which is at it’s end. You’re in a pub to discuss what’s happening with it, when the emotion of the moment overcomes you both and you have to go off to the toilet and satisfy that most natural of urges.
And so it was that Lee Hopps, 30, and Hayley McClory, 23, ended up in Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court on 10th July 2015 pleading guilty to an unspecified public order offence.
In January of this year, the couple were in the Stanley Jefferson Pub in Bishop Aukland when they nipped off to the ladies loos. A member of staff came along afterwards and seem to have realised what was happening. They caught the attention of two passing special constables.
These invited the couple to come out, an invitation that was refused. When the police got more insistent, Mr Hopps came out and was behaving “in such an aggressive manner” that the officer drew his pepper spray and unleashed it on Mr Hopps.
Mr Hopps was then ‘taken to the ground’ and arrested. Ms McClory came out in a ‘somewhat distressed condition’, half naked, and with her trousers round her ankles. Notwithstanding that, she also behaved in an aggressive manner, and was also on the wrong end of some pepper spray.
It seems that both were charged with an offence under s4 Public Order Act 1986. Both initially denied it, but later pleaded guilty.
Mr Hopps also pleaded guilty to criminal damage to a police blanket to the value of £10.46.
There are guidelines for the magistrates court as to how these offences should be sentenced (see page 86). It seems that the magistrates here did not see that there was much of a threat as Mr Hopps was fined £425, whilst Ms McClory only got a £75 fine.
Mr Hopps was also ordered to pay £142 costs and Ms McClory £130. There was also, presumably, a victim surcharges (as well as a lot of embarrassment) for the ex-couple (they have now split up).
All in all though, a pretty expensive quickie …