Introduction and facts
There was quite a bit of coverage last month when Oliver Hall parked up his £100,000 Aston Martin in Hackney to pop into Tescos.
When he came back, he found that someone had caused a scratch all the way down the side of the car, causing £7,741.28 worth of damage.
Although it’s not clear why anyone needs a hundred grand car, especially in London, it does have some uses. His fancy car had a security system with a camera on the dashboard that caught a man seeing the car, stopping, taking out his keys, and running it all the way down the side of Mr Hall’s car.
The footage was released and ‘went viral’. It didn’t take long to identify the culprit – Gary Brissett, a 48 year old single father from Hackney.
On 7th September 2015 he pleaded guilty at Thames Magistrates’ Court. He got a bit of a lecture from the Judge, and his case was adjourned for a Pre-Sentence Report, with custody being threatened.
We don’t know if Mr Brissett has ever been in trouble before, but nothing has been reported.
Criminal Damage is an odd offence – the maximum sentence depends on the value; if it’s under £5,000 then it is 3 months, but if the damage if over £5,000 then it is 10 years.
Here, the damage is over five grand and so Mr Brissett is facing 10 years. There are no guidelines, but we would not expect a sentence anywhere near that.
There are Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines (see page 44). This gives a starting point of 12 weeks, with a range of 6 to 26 weeks.
That sounds about right – we would expect a sentence of about 4 weeks, but suspended for a period of time (or just a Community Order). Mr Brissett does not appear to be a danger to anyone, and this would appear to have been an impulsive and, as the Judge describe, a fairly childish act.