webofevil: (all hail)
A shoplifter had a £20,000 crown court trial over claims a stolen joint of beef reminded him of his dead grandmother. John Casey was caught on Asda’s shop camera hiding a £12 roast in a rucksack at the Washington Galleries store last October and arrested for theft.

But the 51-year-old denied he was being dishonest and said he had moved the meat out of sight as it was giving him “flashbacks” about his grandma, who died of a blood clot when he was a child.

Casey, of Lumley Close, Oxclose, Washington, was tried over two days by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court. The estimated cost per day of a trial per day is £10,000 and the case was heard before John Milford QC, one of the north’s top judges.

After just over an hour deliberation Casey, who has never shoplifted in the past but has other convictions, was found guilty. [Sunderland Echo]
webofevil: (Default)
Wait, so "she stabbed herself to death in front of me" is a comically awful attempt at a defence when offered by a regular person but actually stands when put forward by the police? That's surely the doublest of standards, right there.

I'm excited, though, by the possibilities presented by this:
[T]he IPCC's decision that the officers were witnesses and not suspects [means] they cannot be compelled to submit to a formal interview.
I hereby announce the establishment of the Independent Me Complaints Commission, to which I will in future be referring any complaints about my own behaviour. The commission will be the first and only port of call for any other legal or investigatory body wishing to deal with me, but unfortunately it will decide that I am only a witness to that behaviour and so it will not be able to compel me to communicate with them. I in turn would love to co-operate further with these bodies but I will feel that my hands are tied.

Right, that's me apparently well and truly covered. Now I can get around to that senseless rampage I've been putting off for so long.
webofevil: (Default)
Delroy Grant's DNA was collected from 10 of the crime scenes, often from pensioners who agreed to undergo medical examinations after being raped by the former minicab driver. But when confronted with such evidence, rather than admit to his crimes Grant resorted to a series of increasingly bizarre legal defences. After initially suggesting to police that it might have been his son Delroy Jr who committed the crimes, he later insisted that he was framed by his ex-wife, 53-year-old Janet Watson.

Watson had, he claimed, collected his semen and saliva in 1979, towards the end of their four-year marriage. She had asked, he said, for the body fluids so she could get them tested and check he had not contracted an STD after sleeping with other women.

Grant maintained his wife had pre-empted the scientific advances that, 11 years later, would see DNA evidence used as an investigative tool for the first time. Instead of testing his fluids, he said, she had arranged for an unidentified friend to store the material at Guy's and St Thomas' hospital. Between 1992 and 2009 that same friend had planted the material around south London. [Guardian]
webofevil: (Default)
From the Ian Tomlinson inquest:

Questioned by the assistant deputy coroner, Judge Peter Thornton QC, Harwood has accepted that the account of events he put in his notebook two weeks after the protests was incorrect.

These relate to Harwood's explanation of the aftermath of his attempt to arrest a protester for daubing graffiti, when he said he came under attack from hundreds of protesters and was in fear for his life. Video cast doubt over that, and Thornton specifically went through the list.
Harwood: At the time I wrote this, I thought I fell to the floor.
Thornton: Do you now accept that this is not correct?
Harwood: Yes.
Thornton: That you lost your baton—that is not correct?
Harwood: Yes.
Thornton: That you received a blow to the head—that is not correct?
Harwood: Yes.
Thornton: And that there were violent and dangerous confrontations—that is not correct?
Harwood: Yes.
Thornton: And you were struck by a missile—that is not correct?
Harwood: Yes.
Thornton then asked how Harwood got all this wrong when he wrote the statement on 16 April, more than two weeks after the protests.

Harwood said: "Because at the time that is what I believed happened, from the information I had, that is what I believed happened to me there." [Guardian]
webofevil: (Default)
If you’re minded to become a master criminal, a ready cover story should probably be integral to your plan:
Posing as students, we approached McKee and booked a tutorial with Icut at a cost of £60. Instead, McKee attempted to take £553.50 from our account.

When asked for an explanation, McKee blamed a “break-in” at his office. He also suggested there was a prior agreement to charge for future services, before claiming his accounts department made an “error”.
[Sky News]
webofevil: (Default)
Best rubbish defence in ages. More please BBC.
A man who was caught at Birmingham airport trying to smuggle peregrine falcon eggs out of the country has pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court. Jeffrey Lendrum, 48, admitted taking 14 eggs of a wild bird from a nest in south Wales, possessing eggs of a wild bird and attempting to evade export restrictions. It is the most serious case of its kind in many decades.

According to investigators, a cleaner noticed him acting suspiciously in the bathroom area of the Emirates executive lounge. Lendrum spent a considerable time in one of the showers, but when the cleaner entered the cubicle it was dry and there were some empty egg boxes in a corner.

Counter-terrorism officers searched Lendrum and found the falcon eggs in socks strapped to his abdomen with bandages. After seizing the eggs, the officers kept them alive by nestling them on their office computers.

Lendrum’s car was found in the long-stay car park. Inside, there was an incubator and climbing equipment including ropes and carabiners.

In his defence, Lendrum claimed he had a bad back and a physiotherapist had told him that strapping something fragile to his stomach would encourage the muscles to tense up. [BBC]
webofevil: (Default)

A father and son have been arrested and charged with conspiring to threaten a U.S. official after they allegedly sent a letter to Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) threatening to kill him over his vote for the health care bill.

In the most explicit threat from the letter, the author threatens to “paint the Mackinaw Bridge with the blood of you and your family members... Maybe you will be the main character of a story that parents tell their children as they cross the bridge decades from know [sic]. The red paint of Bart Stupak!”

Investigators say that Russell Hesch, who Stupak’s office said has been one of the congressman’s most vocal critics over the years, typed the threatening letter to Stupak. Hesch, who lives in Michigan, then allegedly emailed it to his son, David, in Denver. According to the criminal complaint, Hesch admitted to writing the letter and told investigators he sent the letter to his son so it couldn't be traced back to him.

From the complaint: "Russell Hesch told agents of the FBI that his biggest mistakes were writing the letter, emailing it to his son David in Colorado, and asking David to mail the letter." [TPM]
These do indeed, in retrospect, appear to be his main mistakes here.

This doesn’t really belong in the “rubbish defence” category since the guy doesn’t seem to be offering much of a defence, but it’s really not worth setting up a whole other category of “rubbish at criminality generally”.
webofevil: (Default)
A woman who battered a man to death with a glass tumbler and a mug has been jailed for a minimum of 14 years. Elizabeth Shields, 33, was convicted of murdering John Cook, 61, at his home in Barrhead in East Renfrewshire last October.

The High Court heard that she giggled as she told a 999 operator that Mr Cook was dead. She then rang her mother and told her: “I’ve just killed a man.

The court heard Shields has 49 previous convictions for offences including breach of the peace and assault.

She launched the attack after Mr Cook, who had befriended her, ordered her out of his house. As he lay dying, she began cutting one of his wrists with the broken glass.

A jury was played a tape of her speaking to a 999 operator who asked if she wanted the police. Shields replied: “No, you need a morgue.” The 33 year-old then laughed and added: “He is pan bread, lying dead.

Throughout her trial Shields denied murdering Mr Cook. [BBC]
webofevil: (Default)

US actor Rip Torn has been released on bail and will enter rehab after his arrest for breaking into a bank in Connecticut while armed with a gun.

A court heard that Men In Black star Torn, 78, was allegedly so intoxicated that he believed he was at home and had left his hat and boots by the door. [BBC]
webofevil: (Default)

Bear with me; there's a reason why I'm highlighting this unpleasant story.
A man has been convicted of murdering a Nepalese student and dismembering her body with a meat cleaver in Glasgow. He was also convicted of attempting to defeat the ends of justice and extort cash and a TV from Mrs Shah's husband.

He denied any involvement throughout the trial and claimed to have been framed. But a jury at the High Court in Glasgow did not believe him and convicted him unanimously of the murder.

During the trial, the court heard how Dantis met Mrs Shah's husband, Nagendra, in 2008 when they started a business masters degree at Strathclyde University. The jury was told that he became increasingly jealous of his friend's more affluent lifestyle and formed a plan to kill Mrs Shah and extort £120,000 from her husband. [BBC]
The exact motive for Dantis’s horrific murder/dismemberment/extortion/TV plot may never be known (incidentally, that’s got to be one hell of a TV set for it to feature in that list, hasn’t it?), but his story in court will always be a matter of public record to be marvelled at by all students of unwise defences:
Mr Dantis said he had been at his flat in the city’s Garthland Drive, Dennistoun, when he allowed access to a man he thought was coming to check his meter. He told the jury this “English-Asian” man had a gun and told him to be quiet.

He claimed the man handed him photographs of Dantis and his wife Astrid before ordering him to go to the Shahs’ home in Coventry Drive and “clean it up” after “things had not gone as expected”. Mr Dantis said he agreed to the demands and told Mr Findlay he did not call police as he was frightened. When he got there—after taking a cab in the name of “Abdul”—he claimed there were signs of disturbance and blood, but no-one was home.

Mr Dantis said he found a blue holdall bag, the type which Mrs Shah’s body was later found dumped in near her home. He told the jury: “I had no idea (what was inside), but it appeared to be a bit heavy.” He moved it outside the flat as requested and also bagged other items, including a broken phone and torn shower curtain, which were to be thrown away.

Mr Findlay asked Dantis: “So you went round to the scene of a murder and to some extent cleaned it up. You removed from the home the headless and handless corpse of the wife of your friend?”

Weeping, Mr Dantis replied: “I did not know at that time what I was doing. This is something that should not have happened. The fact that I did not go to the police and not tell them just feels so wrong.” Mr Dantis claimed the scar-faced gunman appeared at his university days later and again threatened him not to say anything.

Under questioning from Mr Findlay, he later said he believed he had been framed for the murder… Mr Dantis also denied claims that he was behind “ransom” text messages to Mrs Shah’s husband after she disappeared. [BBC]
Never mind that the “mysterious stranger” defence rarely works in any circumstances (when I used it, in a much less serious situation, I at least had the excuse of being 17 and drunk). What appears to have helped sink Dantis’s case was the investigative work done on his laptop hard drive that revealed a costed list of items that included a meat cleaver, a balaclava, bleach, a knife and DIY tape, and a set of instructions labelled “chain of events” that included “change to other clothes”, “wait in room” and “finish the job”.
webofevil: (Default)
An accountant has been jailed for 26 months after stealing £310,000 of taxpayers' money and then claiming he could not remember the offences as he had been struck with amnesia.

Steven Calderbank, 46, told police he could not even recall being employed by Manchester-based Skills Solutions when he was arrested after the three-year fraud came to light, Burnley Crown Court heard. [Telegraph]
webofevil: (Default)
If you read [livejournal.com profile] ruudboy´s journal then you will already have seen this story, but I don´t apologise for giving it even wider currency. The bar really has been set for the year´s worst defence; it´s hard to see how anyone will be able to top this.
Florida man blames cat for downloading child pornography

A Florida man says his cat downloaded child pornography. Police are charging Keith Griffin of Jensen Beach, Florida with 10 counts of possession of child pornography after finding more than 1,000 images on his personal computer.

Griffin told police he had been downloading music, and that his cat jumped on the keyboard when he left the room. He said "strange things" appeared on the computer when he returned. [The Guardian]
webofevil: (Default)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] amuchmoreexotic for spotting this touching article, specifically the robust defence that Sean Mercer’s girlfriend mounts on behalf of her convicted unrepentant trigger-happy verminous would-be gangster boyfriend:
She said: “It wasn’t him… It was the bizzies’ fault. They saw it coming. The shootings had been building up for years. But they didn’t do anything to stop it. They just let it carry on and then Rhys Jones was killed.”
webofevil: (Default)
Michael Stone has been found guilty of trying to bomb Stormont.
Stone had attempted to enter Stormont on the day Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness were due to be nominated as Northern Ireland’s new first and deputy first ministers.

The trial heard he pointed an imitation gun at a female security guard, ignited an improvised explosive device in a flight bag and threw it some yards from him. The bag contained explosive fireworks, flammable liquids, a butane gas canister and fuses. It failed to explode.

He was found to have seven nail bombs which the court heard were capable of causing death or serious injury to anyone in their proximity. Stone also had three knives, a hatchet and a garrotte.
Let us pause and pay tribute to a man who, quite apart from providing us with fantastic slapstick and a salient lesson to future would-be maniacs (viz: don’t try anything till you’re through the revolving door), is also responsible for one of the most remarkably shit legal defences of all time:
An art expert has said that having real nail bombs could “come under the ambit” of performance art, as long as there was no intention of setting them off.

Peter Bond, a senior art lecturer at St Martin’s College, London, was speaking at the trial of Michael Stone, 53. In his evidence Mr Bond, a professional performance artist, stressed that in performance art the most important thing was that people were not harmed.

Giving evidence on his own behalf, Stone had claimed the whole incident was performance art, designed to send a “proverbial rocket up the backsides” of the politicians. He claimed that all the items he had brought with him on that day had their own symbolism in what he described as “an installation”. [BBC]
The judge described this today as “wholly unconvincing”.

R Kelly

Jun. 4th, 2008 03:06 pm
webofevil: (Default)
An FBI forensic video expert has dismissed claims that a tape at the centre of the R Kelly trial could have been faked using special effects. George Skaluae said he had examined the film and found it to show “real people in a real environment”.

He was giving evidence at a courthouse in Chicago, where R Kelly is accused of filming himself having sex with an underage girl. If convicted, the star faces up to 15 years in prison. He denies the charges.

The FBI investigator was ... quizzed on whether the video could have been electronically doctored. R Kelly’s defence team has previously suggested their client may have been digitally “morphed” into the film.

Mr Skaluae said that would be “very difficult and time-consuming”. [BBC]
webofevil: (Default)
Loyalist Michael Stone planned to slit the throats of Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness when he stormed the NI Assembly, a court has heard. He has claimed his November 2006 action, which saw him detained by security staff, was “performance art”.

However, prosecution told Belfast Crown Court when arrested Stone told police he planned to kill the Sinn Fein men ... Charles Adair QC said that after his arrest, Stone said: “My intention was to walk into the debating chamber and look for where Adams, McGuinness and Sinn Fein were sitting. I would have lobbed several nail bombs to cause confusion. I planned to stab Adams and McGuinness and cut their throats.”

… After being trapped by a security guard in the doors of Stormont he lit a fuse on a bag he had and threw it into the hall, shouting that it was a bomb. The device never went off and is believed to have malfunctioned after having got damp during the torrential rain that fell that day.

The court heard that evidence, including a DVD of events at Stormont, had just come to light which both prosecution and defence would be using in the case. Arthur Harvey QC, who is defending Stone, said it would be used by him to back Stone's assertion that his actions at Stormont were performance art.

As well as the attempted murder charges, Stone is charged with possessing home-made explosives and an imitation gun with intent. He is also charged with carrying a garrotte, three knives and an axe and assaulting staff members who trapped him in the revolving doors at Stormont. [BBC]
webofevil: (Default)
Further to the second story here, the accused has been been given life (minimum 30 years) for murdering Kate Beagley, despite a second impressive bid for “worst defence ever”:
With only a month to go before his trial, Taylor came up with a new story. He now claimed that Kate had stabbed herself to death.

Bizarrely he claimed he himself had brought the knife that night because he felt suicidal but when it fell out of his sleeve and onto the floor Kate picked it up and started “prodding” herself in the neck.

When Taylor entered the witness box Peter Clarke QC, prosecuting, coolly unpicked his nonsensical story. Under cross-examination Taylor became flustered and argumentative.

Mr Clarke rolled up a piece of paper to make a “knife” six inches long and asked Taylor to use it to show the court just how Kate had killed herself. Taylor refused, claiming he was “not in the right emotional state”, but Judge Giles Forrester told him he was a witness and must answer the question. The defendant reluctantly agreed and gently prodded himself in the neck with the paper “knife”. Among the 31 injuries she received were blows which severed her carotid artery and her jugular vein, but Taylor insisted she was standing throughout.

Mr Clarke then asked him why, as a fitness instructor with martial arts training, Taylor had not stepped in to disarm Kate and save her life. Taylor said it was an “awkward situation” and he did not know how to intervene safely. He accused Mr Clarke of being “outlandish”. “"What is outlandish about suggesting that you try to save her life?” asked Mr Clarke. Taylor sidestepped the question and added: “I didn’t know this girl. I just didn’t know what to do.” [BBC]
His story seems to have been unduly influenced by Chris Morris.

No shit

Feb. 22nd, 2008 02:12 pm
webofevil: (Default)
TV’s Adam Bostock-Smith Man convicted of model’s murder [BBC]

Given his obvious general intelligence, the one part of his story that I am prepared to believe is that he tried to cover her body afterwards with gravel and cement in order to “cover up traces of his DNA”.
webofevil: (dagnabbit)
I don’t intend to harp on about this case, but the defendant (that’s him on the right, although that might not be his official mugshot) has just upped the stakes with the new twist in his story that he did not realise the girl was dead until after he had sex with her body.

Meanwhile, in a courtroom down the hall at the Old Bailey, another man is shoring up my increasing conviction that somewhere there’s a website where these gynocidal bastards have been congregating to concoct ever worse defences as a bet:
A “successful businesswoman” was stabbed to death while on a first date with a man she had met in a nightclub, the Old Bailey has heard. Karl Taylor, 27, denies murdering Kate Beagley, a 37-year-old manager, in Richmond, south-west London last year.

Mr Taylor claims he took the knife to steal Miss Beagley’s Volkswagen Golf car, but stabbed her after an argument.

Mr Clarke told the court the Crown did not accept Mr Taylor’s version of what happened on 30 May 2007. He said Mr Taylor chatted to his girlfriend, Lauren, on his mobile phone as he drove Miss Beagley’s car with her body in the boot back through London in the early hours of the morning.

Over the next few days, the court was told, Mr Taylor “showed off his new car” to acquaintances and sold Miss Beagley’s mobile phone to one of his friends.

Mr Clarke told the court that Mr Taylor had admitted he hid a kitchen knife up his sleeve before going out on the date with Miss Beagley, a sales manager with British Gas.

Mr Taylor later told police they sat on a bench for a while before leaving and driving off in Miss Beagley’s car. He said he had lied to her about dropping his keys near the bench and when they returned they had an argument and he stabbed her.

Mr Clarke said Mr Taylor’s version of events failed to explain why it was necessary to stab Miss Beagley 31 times, including in the face, neck and throat.
“Yeah, of course I took a knife with me, but only to steal her car. And of course I killed her with it, but that’s not murder, it’s self-defence or something.”

Has no-one explained to them that a guilty plea in these circumstances would probably be the best option? Or are they deliberately taking the piss, being blithely unaware that the guidance about non-custodial sentences for a first offence doesn’t extend to murder?
webofevil: (Default)
I wasn’t a huge drinker at school. Okay, so one or two of my fellow pupils were on a bottle of vodka a day and a select few would even indulge in ethanol, but even if you take them off the graph my intake was still below average.

Which is why I can easily remember the occasions when I really overshot the runway. One is pertinent here. It was a Sunday evening, I was knackered, for some reason I hadn’t had supper and I had a pile of homework still to do. So when a friend from another boarding house appeared at my door with a large bottle of vodka that he had got from somewhere cunningly secreted in his trousers, obviously the sensible thing to do was to send him on his merry way with my very best wishes.

Shortly afterwards we were swigging from the bottle in the darkness way out on the playing fields. I was keen to avoid the consequences of being caught drinking, so was trying to disguise the smell of vodka on my breath using something I had borrowed from my study-mate. This was not a happy experience. He smoked, and smokers at the school were going through a phase of experimenting with ways to disguise the smell in the event of a teacher happening by unexpectedly. (The idea was that the giveaway smell on their faces, hands and clothes would prove nothing in themselves; you can’t do me if you didn’t see me smoking it, sir. This defence rarely worked in practice.) They had moved on from Polos and Extra Strong Mints and had indeed found something strong enough to wipe out competing smells in any mouth—Oxo cubes.

Repeated swigs of neat vodka followed by bites of Oxo. A word of advice: don’t do it, kids. We all know not to mix the grape and the grain; I was mixing the grain and the gravy. It’s undoubtedly one of the reasons I was quite so sick later.

If you don’t mind, I’ll fast forward through the being dragged back to my boarding house, being copiously sick in my study-mate’s bin (sorry, Tim), having to be carried upstairs as a dead (but still vaguely conscious) weight, having cold water flung in my face with no noticeable effect, which led to me being reported to my housemaster—if the senior boys thought you were a bit pissed they wouldn’t really care, but this was well beyond any acceptable limit—and having to go and see him still drunk. If this doesn’t make the hairs on your neck leap up like tiny sodding meerkats, it’s only because you, drunk or sober, never had to face my housemaster.

He sent me back to bed for being far too incoherent to bother cross-examining. (I could have told him that, if I could have told him that.) He had asked me, not unreasonably, where I had got hold of a large quantity of vodka on a Sunday night. Even in my reduced state there was no conceivable way I was going to tell him, so on the spot I made up a truly terrible excuse: I had been walking back to house and surprised some juniors who were drinking; they ran off when they saw me to avoid getting into trouble; I picked up the bottle they had been drinking from, found it was vodka and helped myself. Understandably, he didn’t believe a syllable of it—that’s if he could even make it out in the first place—but when I had to go and see him again the next morning, ashen-faced, I felt honour-bound to stick to my daft story. I got punished but my friend never did. I like to think that this in some way balances out the fact that I’ve owed him a wedding present for over a year now. Anyway.

My point is that sometimes you find yourself suddenly having to come up with a convincing story with zero time to prepare. Occasionally this can work out. More often, though, it really doesn’t, as the man at the heart of this grisly case can attest: Readers who would rather not need not click through )

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