Judge brands man 'stupid'

AN ALCOHOLIC who brought chaos to one of Suffolk's busiest roads by flinging a dustbin across two lanes of the dual carriageway has been branded "completely reckless, highly dangerous and stupid" by a judge.

AN ALCOHOLIC who brought chaos to one of Suffolk's busiest roads by flinging a dustbin across two lanes of the dual carriageway has been branded "completely reckless, highly dangerous and stupid" by a judge.

But Judge Peter Thompson, sitting with two magistrates, quashed a five-month jail term imposed on Robert Bradlaugh last month in favour of rehabilitation programme which is likely to see him treated in a special clinic to put a stop to his binge drinking.

Bradlaugh, who was appealing against the prison sentence imposed by Ipswich magistrates, was also ordered to carry out 80 hours' community service to repay the public for his "stupidity".

However, Judge Thompson – sitting at Bury St Edmunds Crown Court - stressed the jail term handed to Bradlaugh, 48, of Cobbold Road, Woodbridge, after he admitted throwing the plastic bin into the A12 at Woodbridge causing a two-car pile-up was "entirely justified".

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He said: "Your actions were completely reckless and highly dangerous. We are familiar with the road and the section and we don't doubt that they (the magistrates) regarded five months in prison as entirely justified.

"Having said that, we're going to do what has been suggested on your behalf. We think you need to stop drinking and you need some help."

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The judge said the combination of a 12-month rehabilitation order and 80 hours of community service was the way forward: "You may have to go to a clinic to address your alcoholism – it seems to us that you are clearly an alcoholic.

"The 80 hours of community punishment will remind you of your stupidity and you will be able to repay the community for what you did."

And he warned Bradlaugh to behave on his release: "Don't go binge drinking to celebrate. You have to start behaving yourself. You must stop drinking and stop behaving in this way."

Robert Sadd, for the prosecution, told the court Bradlaugh had admitted causing the dustbin to be in the stretch of A12 only yards from his home on April 29 this year. He said: "From the side of the road he threw the bin into the road.

"One driver became aware of someone carrying something which seemed quite bulky through the bushes on the nearside of the carriageway. The person walked to the edge and suddenly threw the bin into the road. The driver couldn't take evasive action because there was someone on his near side and a crash barrier on the other.

"He braked as hard as he could but he did hit the dustbin." Mr Sadd said a second driver then ploughed into the rear of the first motorist.

Simon Spence, representing the appellant, said his client had returned home after a lengthy drinking session to find the bin had been overturned in his hedge. As he went to return it to its usual spot, he turned to see his beloved Jack Russell dog on the edge of the road.

"He was concerned the dog was going to be run over and without any thought he threw the bin into the road so the traffic would stop and he could get the dog back in his garden. What he did was deliberate but was not done to cause mayhem."

Mr Spence described his client as a "thorough pest" who had been unable to control his alcoholism in the past. However, with the correct treatment he believed Bradlaugh could stop drinking.

He said Bradlaugh had already served the equivalent of two months of the sentence and the lawyer insisted the five-month term – only a month short of the maximum allowed to magistrates – was "draconian".

As he concluded his appeal against the sentence, Mr Spence stressed: "This was not a malicious act but an ill-thought-out one."

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