Merciful magistrates spare homeless man from a further prison term

Sympathetic magistrates took pity on a homeless offender who failed to comply with his supervision requirements after release from prison and they spared him from being put back behind bars.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on September 6 how Lee Woodger, 27 of no fixed abode, admitted failing to attend probation service appointments in August after he was released from prison.

Chesterfield magistrates' court.

Chesterfield magistrates' court.

Defence solicitor Ben Strelley argued that when offenders are sent into custody their benefit arrangements are sanctioned and they are released without any money and they struggle to set up new benefit, bank and accommodation arrangements.

He added that Woodger also suffered a setback when he was released from prison because he discovered his partner had been having an affair.

Mr Strelley said: “If every time he is on post-sentence supervision and misses an appointment he comes to court and goes to prison and then he’s released, the short sentence has no sentencing effect other than direct punishment and it puts him back to square one and if this keeps happening he will always be at square one.”

He added: “His dream is not to be homeless.”

Magistrates decided not to send Woodger back to custody for 14 days and instead decided to fine him £20.