Teen arrested after claiming to be his own brother

Dean Smettem
Dean Smettem

A “STUPID” teenager gave police his brother’s name to avoid being arrested – without realising his sibling was wanted for an alleged offence.

But as hapless Dean Smettem was being handcuffed, it dawned on him that he wouldn’t have been arrested had he given his real identity so he lashed out at officers.

The 19-year-old – who is said to resemble his brother – then ran off, but was caught in a nearby street.

Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard how Smettem decided to continue with the charade until he got to the police station and was confronted with the reality of providing fingerprints.

It was then that he confessed and revealed who he really was.

Prosecuting, Joanne Hesse told justices: “It was 4.05pm on the afternoon of June 9 and a police community support officer was speaking to the defendant in an alleyway off Rodney Street.

“He told the officer he was called Darrell Smettem, which is the defendant’s brother.

“On hearing this, a woman police officer arrested the defendant because Darrell Smettem was wanted for an alleged theft. She applied the handcuffs and cautioned and arrested this defendant.

“This defendant became aggressive and assaulted the police officer by forcing her finger back, forcing her to release the grip of the handcuffs.

“He ran off and was arrested in a nearby street. When he was in custody he continued to use the name Darrell Smettem.

“However, in interview he went on to fully admit both offences.

“He said he believed there was a warrant out for his arrest so gave his brother’s name so that he wouldn’t be arrested.”

Smettem, of Moffatt Road, Owton Manor, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to assault with intent to resist arrest and obstructing or resisting a constable in the execution of her duty.

Mitigating, Neil Taylor said: “If ever there was a case that highlights the need to tell the truth, this is perhaps it.

“If you are asked to give your name by a police officer it’s often best to use your real name because by giving your brother’s name you get yourself arrested because he’s wanted by the police.

“Had my client said he was Dean, he’d have been urged to go on his way.”

He added: “If he’d have given his own name none of this would have happened.

“It is really making a mountain out of a mole hill. It’s difficult to mitigate because it’s all of his own making. It is, quite frankly, stupid.”

Mr Taylor also said his client is actively looking for work and has applied to work in a shop and a restaurant.

Chairman of the bench Keith Fisher adjourned sentencing Smettem until Friday, July 8, when the Probation Service will have carried out a pre-sentence report.