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Man who "enthusiastically" challenged the police lands himself in court

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: January 31, 2013

A MAN who "enthusiastically" challenged the police over why his sister was being arrested found himself in court charged with obstruction.

Mark Eaton, 42, of 35 Bicton Street, Barnstaple, pleaded guilty at North Devon Magistrates' Court to obstructing a police constable in the execution of his duty.

Ben Winzer, for the prosecution, said that in the early hours of New Year's Day police were dealing with an incident outside Toko in Barnstaple.

While officers were trying to put a woman in the back of a police vehicle, the defendant became verbally abusive.

The officers told him to stay back but he approached them, demanding to know why they were arresting her.

An officer, after several warnings, restrained the defendant and awaited further assistance.

Tim Hook, for the defence, said his client was a hard working man but his wages were very low and, as a result, were topped up with state benefits.

He did not have much money and he and his wife did not go out terribly often.

But on this occasion they went out on New Year's Eve as part of a family group which included his younger sister.

They were about to go home when it became apparent to his client that his sister had been injured; she had blood streaming from her nose.

By the time he had got the coats they were all outside the premises where his sister was in the process of being taken into police custody.

Mr Hook said: "He has seen nothing that has given rise to that at all and he is naturally concerned and raises the question, why is this happening?

"He accepts that he was making this inquiry enthusiastically and the police officer had to put him in a headlock.

"This is a situation that blew up out of communication difficulties."

Mr Hook said the irony of the situation was there was no substance to any allegation against his sister. But his client found himself in court.

He hoped that the magistrates felt his client had almost gone through enough, having spent a night in custody.

Eaton was given a conditional discharge for six months and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £15.

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