Sussex teenager flees magistrate prison sentence – not realising it was suspended

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A TEENAGER fled court yesterday (July 28) after hearing he had been given a prison term – not realising the magistrate was about to suspend the sentence.

Harry Hiatt, 18, of Brighton Road, Worthing, was arrested at Shoreham railway station on June 10 for behaviour likely to cause alarm and distress.

As the afternoon session got underway at Worthing Magistrates’ Court Hiatt, whose case had started in the morning, was sentenced by magistrate David Harmston.

“We’re not impressed with your behaviour,” he said.

“It’s so serious that we believe it attracts a custodial sentence. We’re sending you to prison....”

However, he got no further as with a noise of disbelief Hiatt left the dock, walked out the courtroom and was last seen by an usher sprinting down the street away from the court.

“I was trying to tell him we would be suspending it but he didn’t give me the chance,” Mr Harmston told the people left in the courtroom.

Hiatt’s lawyer and the ushers ran out to bring him back but Hiatt had already gone.

“Someone’s kindly running down the road asking him to come back,” his defence lawyer told the court, before Mr Harmston asked: “How fast was he going?”

“I saw him running sir and he was running pretty fast,” replied an usher.

In the end Mr Harmston continued: “The sentence of the court was going to be that we he could serve a period of 12 weeks reduced to eight weeks in view of his guilty plea and I was going to say, however, that his sentence would be suspended.”

He finished: “There wasn’t much else I was going to say other than the important bit which was suspending it but he didn’t give me the chance.”

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