Ipswich: CRASBOs for addicts branded futile after alcoholic Michael Smith breaches order four times within five days of getting it
15:55 05 September 2014
Slapping Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour Orders on addicts was today branded “futile” after an alcoholic substance abuser breached his four times within five days of receiving it.
Homeless Michael Smith is serving 28 days in jail after he broke his CRASBO conditions again within an hour of being released from Ipswich’s South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court for his third breach.
The 49-year-old, who has lived in Ipswich and the Felixstowe area, is a long-time alcoholic and substance abuser. When he appeared in court in 2011 it was said he had more than 180 previous convictions. Smith was given a CRASBO by magistrates last Wednesday after being found guilty in his absence of causing alarm, harassment or distress outside the NSPCC offices in Crown Street, Ipswich, on April 27.
After the courts finally ran out of patience with Smith and jailed him, his solicitor Dino Barricella, of Barricella Hughes and Marchant, railed against giving CRASBOs to homeless people with addictions.
He said: “I think it is futile. It’s setting people up to fail. It is like telling an alcoholic not to drink – it is not going to happen.
“You would be better off finding Mr Smith accommodation rather than putting him through the criminal justice system. That just costs us all money.”
Smith’s original CRASBO prevented him from entering Portman Road, Barrack Corner, St Matthews Street, Civic Drive, Westgate Street, Cornhill and Tavern Street unless attending a specified appointment within the area.
He was also barred from entering the town centre with an unsealed container of alcohol or with a container of lighter gas.
Smith first breached his CRASBO at 12.45am on the day after receiving it by going into Tavern Street in Ipswich with two containers of lighter gas.
He pleaded guilty to the breach before Ipswich magistrates on Friday and also to an offence of criminal damage to a fence while sleeping rough on August 18.
In mitigation Mr Barricella told the court years of addiction and a considerable time being homeless were Smith’s problem.
He added: “There was a tent (which Smith set up) opposite the former police station for a short while. He was then moved on by way of a county court order.
“I ask you just show some leniency towards a man with the difficulties he has. The reality is he will probably be back before the courts again.”
Magistrates gave Smith a day in custody in lieu of a fine and ordered him to pay £75 compensation for the criminal damage.
However, the following day he broke his CRASBO at 8am by being found in Westgate Street in possession of lighter gas,
After appearing before magistrates that morning he was released from custody only to breach it again at 4pm the same day by being in Tavern Street.
He was detained in custody on Saturday night and throughout Sunday before appeared in court again on Monday morning.
Smith was given a day’s detention with time served and released only to break his conditions again within an hour.
At 12.15pm he was arrested in Black Horse Lane carrying a container of lighter gas.
When Smith re-appeared before the district judge the same afternoon he was given 28 days in jail.