It sounds odd but we can assure you it is true.
As some readers may have guessed, the background to this case lies in a neighbourly dispute. Ms Dodd took objection to the noise made by her neighbour’s children, specifically the noise made whilst they were enjoying playing on their trampoline. Her neighbour, Afshan Iqbal, had previously complained about Ms Dodd, and Ms Dodd had complained about Ms Iqbal.
Dodd subsequently threw water out of her bedroom window, hitting the children and Ms Iqbal on three occasions. It appears that this was not in dispute. So why did she plead not guilty?
Well, Dodd’s case was that she was bed ridden with illness and was emptying a pan of water put out for her cat, not intending to hit anyone, and therefore was not guilty on the basis that she lacked the required intent (a specific intention or having been reckless as to the consequences of her actions).
It is likely that the proper description of the offence was battery rather than assault; the difference being for the former, it is necessary to prove the application of unlawful force, whereas for the latter, it is necessary to cause a fear of unlawful force. As the water was thrown out of the window and actually hit the children, we assume the children were unaware of the water being thrown until it hit them and so battery rather than assault would be the more appropriate description.
The maximum sentence for common assault under s.39 of the CJA 1988 is 6 months. So where on the scale did Dodd’s offence come? Unsurprisingly, right at the very bottom. She was given a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered to pay £280 in costs.
Interestingly, applying the Sentencing Council’s guideline, (see p.23) as Dodd “repeatedly targeted the same victim(s)” this would be a category 2 offence as that is a factor indicating greater harm – if one was so slavishly follow the guideline. Obviously that is nonsense and would result in an absurd sentence. Correctly, the court appears to have ignored the guideline.
Dodd said: ‘It’s disgusting but there’s nothing I can do. I thought the court would laugh and sue the police for wasting everyone’s time.’
So Dodd has to behave herself for the next 12 months and stump up £280.
What a waste of the court’s time and taxpayer money….