A man has been fined £100 for urinating on a town’s main war memorial in broad daylight while drunk.
Alan Jemmett was not locked up by Hartlepool magistrates despite being in breach of two suspended sentences and having 241 previous convictions, sparking criticism that such a sentence was not a deterrent.
Prosecutor David Carmichael told the court that Jemmett was seen staggering around Victory Square in Hartlepool at about 11am on a weekday.
“He was seen to urinate against the war memorial,” said Mr Carmichael. “Having done that, he walked off towards Avenue Road.
“Police inquiries identified the man as Alan Jemmett.
“When interviewed, he said he had been on a bender the night before, argued with his partner in the morning and then walked into the centre of Hartlepool drinking a can of Fosters lager.
“He said he had no recollection of urinating against the memorial but said it was the sort of stupid thing he would have done.”
Jemmett, 31, of Glamis Walk, Hartlepool, admitted urinating in public on Tuesday, January 12, and being in breach of two suspended sentences.
John Relton, defending, said in mitigation: “There is nothing I can say about the offence which will endear my client to the bench.
“All he can do is admit it and apologise.
“Mr Jemmett has been in the court system for many years and had a significant drugs problem when he was much younger.
“Alcohol has consumed his adult life.
“He has a partner who has been a stabilising influence, and in the context of Alan Jemmett, the rate of his offending has slowed a lot.
“This was an unattractive offence, but as he has only breached a by-law, it would be disproportionate to activate the suspended sentences for that.”
The bench fined Jemmett £100 and ordered him to pay £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
Bench chairwoman Judith Gibson said: “We have decided not to activate the suspended sentences because they were for dissimilar offences.”
The bench extended the period of suspension from a year to 18 months.
Martin Sharpe, a member of the Friends of Victory Square group, described the incident as “disgusting and totally disrespectful”.
He added: “My own personal opinion is that justice has been done, but it is not a deterrent.
“I don’t criticise the magistrates for the outcome, but I would have liked it to be more than £100.
“It could have been a lot higher.
“I have had feedback from friends and veterans who were disgusted and say that it is not enough.
“Saying he couldn’t remember is no excuse.”