A 12-year-old boy has appeared in court charged with assaulting a man with a sausage.
It was, the judge mused, like an episode from the Just William novels. Except that William was never hauled before a youth court at a cost to the taxpayer of £2,000 – and even he would have struggled to terrorise someone with a bite-sized snack.
The elderly victim was walking home from a pub in Wythenshawe, Manchester, when he became involved in an argument with the boy. Manchester Youth Court was told that the dispute got out of hand and the boy threw a cocktail sausage in anger, striking the man on the shoulder.
The court was not told whether the sausage was cooked, raw or frozen.
Adjourning the hearing, District Judge Tim Devas questioned why the case had been pursued and suggested that the Crown should reconsider. "I was brought up in the era of Just William," he said. "You may not remember it, but this incident sounds similar.
"Clearly there are certain things that should be done with a 12-year-old, and you shouldn’t be bringing them into the court system unless it’s absolutely necessary.
"If he has done what was suggested, it is very bad behaviour. But is it in the public interest to prosecute a 12-year-old boy who threw a sausage?"
Oliver Gardner, for the defence, said the move "beggars belief". He added: “It’s crazy; they are criminalising children. Where is the discretion or logic on the police’s behalf when they charge a 12-year-old with assault with a cocktail sausage?
"It beggars belief that they have put this boy through the trauma of the criminal justice system, locking him up at the police station and then hauling him before the court. Where is the sense of such an exercise?"
Dianne Oliver, for the prosecution, said that she would take the case to her superiors to review the charge.
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denies assault. His mother, who sat next to him in court, said that he had been unable to sleep the night before his hearing. She added: "It’s an absolute joke, and I’m disgusted by it." She said that he had been "worried sick that he would be sent to prison".
Last November a judge criticised Alf Bridges, a retired 67-year-old labourer, for wasting court time by trying to retrieve the £1,200 he said he had spent wooing a woman who answered a lonely hearts advertisement. At the time, District Judge Ian Evans said: "I am not here to examine people’s private lives unless they raise any legal issues. This is one of the most misconceived cases I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with. It should never have got here."
In April a man charged with harassing his ex-wife after he sent her just two letters was cleared by a magistrate who criticised Crown lawyers for pursuing the case.
I cannot believe this. There are people getting stabbed, shot and kicked to death by gangs of feral children and the response of our public officials is this?!? What ever happened to common sense and good judgement? Yes, that's right, there were criminalised by the Left!