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Judge praises jailed Catchgate motorist for dropping appeal against length of sentence
A MAN serving a short prison sentence has been praised for “sensibly” abandoning an appeal to try to reduce the time he spends behind bars.
Ryan Rafferty, 28, recently received a 24 week sentence at North Durham Magistrates’ Court for failing to provide a breath specimen and obstructing a police constable in the execution of duty.
It stemmed from a motoring incident in Stanley, County Durham, on May 7 last year.
Rafferty previously denied both charges, but changed his plea to guilty and 12 weeks of the sentence was imposed for those offences.
The conviction put him in breach of a suspended 16-week prison sentence, imposed in February last year for failing to report a road accident in which a man was injured in Poplar Grove, Dipton, near Stanley, by Rafferty’s Peugeot 306 car.
Rafferty also admitted subsequently sending an offensive message to the victim.
The magistrates, sitting at Consett, added a further 12 weeks to the jail term for the breach of the previous suspended sentence, to make the total 24 week sentence.
Rafferty, of Harelaw Gardens, Catchgate, near Stanley, lodged an appeal against the totality of that sentence, just two weeks short of the maximum which could have been imposed by magistrates.
But, when Rafferty appeared in the dock at Durham Crown Court for the scheduled appeal today (Thursday February 28), his barrister, Nicholas Lane, told the hearing: “He is due for release in about three weeks time and I have discussed it with him this morning.
“He now seeks to abandon the appeal.”
Judge Christopher Prince, sitting with two magistrates, said: “That’s a very sensible idea.
“An appeal in this case seemed utterly without merit.”
Addressing Rafferty, Judge Prince said: “Good move Mr Rafferty. The appeal was not going to succeed.
“I have no idea why you were going to come here and have a shot at an appeal, but you have wisely abandoned it.
“We have considered whether or not to seek costs for this hearing.
“But, given that you have sought the advice of Mr Lane and rightly abandoned the appeal, and as you still have a period to serve in custody, by a whisker, we’ll not make a costs order.”