Jessie Evans calls the Judge a ‘prat’ as sentence adjourned

Jessie Evans calls the Judge a ‘prat’ as sentence adjourned

Photo from the BBC


If you’re going to go to Court as a defendant, it’s always best to try to make a good impression – bit of a hairbrush, polished shoes, that sort of thing. Oh, and also, don’t ‘hurl expletives’ at the Judge.

This was the novel tactic employed by Jessie Evans at his sentencing hearing on 14th May 2015 for the robbery of John Jukes.



The robbery itself was an unpleasant one – John Jukes (a pensioner who was receiving treatment for cancer) had just left the Post Office with three thousand Euros for use in a holiday when Mr Evans attacked him.

He knocked Mr Jukes to the ground, stealing the money as well as  fracturing his eye socket.

It’s not clear how Mr Evans was arrested, but it seems that he admitted the offence and pleaded guilty. At the sentencing hearing, Mr Evans offered an apology to Mr Jukes – “I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart, John. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind, I’m sorry Mr Jukes,”

One imagines his lawyer was feeling pretty good at this point. Unfortunately for Mr Evans, the Judge (HHJ Hart) decided to adjourn the case for a psychiatric report as he was giving consideration of an extended sentence.

At this point, Mr Evans “started swearing at the judge and had to be taken back to the cells“.


What happens next?

Mr Evans will return to be sentenced for the robbery. We don’t know much about his previous convictions, but whether or not he gets an extended sentence, he will spend a long time in prison.

The Robbery Guidelines apply. I imagine that it will be a Category 3 robbery with a starting point (before credit for the plea of guilty) of 8 years.

As to his outburst? This is certainly a Contempt of Court, for which he could be dealt with by way of a (probably short) consecutive sentence (see here for a much more extreme example).

It may be that the Judge took a pragmatic view of the situation and decided to leave it, with a warning to Mr Evans that if there’s any more of that on the next occasion then he will deal with it formally as a contempt of court. This appears to be what has happened, which is a sensible way of dealing with it.


Does ‘prat’ count as an expletive?

That’s what we wondered. In this day and age, that seems a very tame word to use, even in the rarified atmosphere of a Crown Court.

It also is so innocuous, that it hardly counts as an expletive to be hurled (you should hear what advocates in your local robing room call the Judges).

It may be that Mr Evans is a polite man, or that the BBC was rather coy in its reporting. If anyone knows which is correct, please let us know …

Dan is a barrister at 2 Dr. Johnson’s Buildings practising in crime.


  1. A certain judge, now deceased, sitting in the Crown Court, gave a defendant seven years. As the man turned toward the door at the back of the dock he called out YOU’RE A STUPID FUCKING CUNT!

    The judge said Bring him back! and everyone thought he was going to give him six months more for contempt, was that necessary, couldn’t he just pretend not to have noticed? But what the judge said was this.

    Sit down, Mr X. And listen to me carefully. You and I will shortly be leaving this building. I will be going in my comfortable car to my comfortable home where I will spend the evening with my family, have what I want to eat, and do what I choose. You will be leaving in a filthy van for an even filthier prison where you will spend the next three and a half years banged up with two other incompetent criminals who got caught. On the way you may care to ask yourself which of us is a stupid fucking cunt.

    Now take him down.