Merciful judge spared a homeless man from jail after a Chesterfield town centre fracas

Chesterfield magistrates' court.
Chesterfield magistrates' court.

A concerned judge spared a homeless man from prison after the defendant had failed to comply with a suspended prison sentence which had been imposed for a street fracas.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on January 15 how Wayne France, 44, had been involved in a disturbance with another man in Chesterfield town centre over an alleged drug debt.

Prosecuting solicitor Sarah Haslam said: “CCTV had shown him with a victim having a discussion at New Beetwell Street and the mood changed and the victim walked away and he was grabbed by France and the victim was waving his hands about.”

The CCTV footage also showed the pair on West Bars and France appears to punch the other man in the face and the victim threw a punch back.

Mrs Haslam added that France punched the victim to the face and a call was made to police by a passer-by.

France fully accepted committing threatening behaviour over a drug debt in March, according to Mrs Haslam, and he was made subject to a suspended prison sentence in June for the public order offence.

But France, of homeless centre The Greens, on Murdock Road, Sheffield, admitted failing to comply with the suspended sentence order by failing to attend probation appointments.

He also admitted possessing 0.39grammes of the class B drug, 5f-MDMB-PINACA, known as mamba, in Hasland, Chesterfield, on February 23, which pre-dated the imposition of the suspended sentence.

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Defence solicitor Kirsty Sargent said France had struggled to get accommodation in Chesterfield and found support in Sheffield and he did not have the funds to travel to probation meetings in Chesterfield.

Miss Sargent added: “He has been living on the streets and not keeping appointments and he has been struggling with no income or benefit.”

However, Miss Sargent added that following time in hospital he was referred to The Greens, in Sheffield, where he can stay for up to two years.

District Judge Andrew Davison said: “He has accommodation for two years and it’s a God-send and sending him to prison would be pointless and a destructive exercise.”

France was given a 12 month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay a £20 victim surcharge.