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Judge halts Exeter thief’s sentencing after defendant falls asleep in the dock

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: May 29, 2014

Exeter Crown Court

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A Judge was forced to halt the sentencing of a sneak thief after the defendant fell asleep in the dock.

Simon Rickard was unsteady on his feet when he arrived at Exeter Crown Court and his speech sounded slurred as he confirmed his name.

Judge Phillip Wassall had already questioned whether Rickard was fit to continue and able to understand what was going on but had been assured he was following proceedings.

Just moments later the Judge stopped the case after Rickard fell asleep in the dock with his head lolling onto his right shoulder.

He adjourned the sentence and remanded Rickard in custody until Monday after he admitted being under the influence of the heroin substitute Subutex.

Rickard, aged 41, of Arena Park, Exeter, admitted theft from a car in Exeter and was due for sentence.

Judge Wassall initially asked defence solicitor Mr Nick Bradley if his client was drunk but the defendant answered from the dock that he was on a Subutex script.

Mr Bradley said he had spoken to his client and was satisfied he was capable of following the proceedings but Rickard fell asleep as soon as prosecutor Mr Sean Brunton started outlining the facts of the case.

The Judge stopped the hearing and ordered Rickard to be taken to the cells. He said:”He cannot go out on bail. He cannot come back in this state.”

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