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Worcester man left wandering court building as he waited for lift to cells
A MAN jailed by magistrates said he was “still a free man” after being allowed to loiter on the landing at the court waiting for a lift to the cells.
Chatting outside the court, rather than staring at the inside of a prison cell, criminal Ryan Goss said he would have “done a runner” from Worcester Magistrates Court if the bench had given him a longer sentence and he was facing Christmas behind bars.
The 19-year-old, who was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison on Thursday, could not be taken to prison straight away as the city’s cells are closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays, following Government reforms.
A spokesman for Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service said he was “not considered a risk to the public”.
Goss, of Snowshill Close, Warndon, was told he was a prisoner, yet was free to talk to his friends, chat on his mobile phone, call his employers at Worcester Bosch, arrange for clothes to be brought to him, eat a chocolate bar from the court vending machine and smoke a cigarette in the court’s toilets.
Sentencing Goss, chairman of the bench Ray Needham told him: “You have a persistent disregard for court orders and we feel it would not be unjust to activate the custodial sentence.
“Wait at the back of court until the security staff arrive. You are in lawful custody and must remain in the court.
“We are short of security staff. That is why you have not been taken down immediately.”
Although he was warned not to leave the building, Goss was left alone, without handcuffs, and was effectively free to go wherever he wanted.
Goss told the Worcester News on the landing: “Last year, when I did a runner, they couldn’t catch me for four months and now they’re putting all this trust in me.
“I was really surprised. I have been able to call five or six people since I was sentenced and I have just sorted out someone to bring me my clothes.
“I haven’t got any cuffs on me. I’m still a free man.
“Normally, I would be in a cell now, waiting, but I have time to sort things out.
“I even rang up work and said I wouldn’t be in.”
However, he did complain about being left with the temptation to abscond.
“It’s inhumane treatment – tempting me to do a runner and with all the things I have got going for me in my life at the moment,” he said.
“If I had been given a longer sentence I’d be gone by now.
“At the moment, I will be out before Christmas and if I ran away I would just be sent down for longer but it’s only two months – I might as well just do it.
“If it was a longer stretch there would be no chance I would be waiting here.”
Goss’ solicitor, Mark Turnbull of Hamer Childs, said: “There is a risk of people walking out the door. It is a hell of a temptation when you’ve just been given a prison sentence.
“I can’t see the sense of it. There is a concern that some people will do a runner. It seems this has just been imposed on the court without anyone thinking it through.”
Fellow solicitor Rob Macrory, of Hine Solicitors, said: “It’s a shambles. The legal system is in disarray.
"This makes a mockery of the whole justice system. There’s nothing to stop prisoners doing a bunk.
"What happens if you get a violent prisoner who is told to wait on the landing?”
Goss was sentenced at 12.27pm and three security officers from GEOAmey arrived from Wolverhampton to take him to HMP Glen Parva, in Leicester, more than an hour later at 1.31pm.
Goss was in court for breaching a community order requirements of a suspended sentence order, put in place for harassment, theft and failing to surrender to bail, which included completing 100 hours of unpaid work, of which he had completed 25 hours.
After being informed of the case by your Worcester News, a spokesman from Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service said: “Worcester Magistrates Court does not list custody cases on Thursdays.
“This was an unexpected custody case and the defendant was required to wait on court premises for an hour to be collected by the prisoner escort service.
“The defendant was not considered a risk to the public by the court and remained inside the building during this time.”