Flintshire witness jailed for failure to give evidence

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A MAN who failed to turn up at Mold Crown Court to give evidence in a case has been jailed.

A woman who admitted doing the same thing received a community sentence because she was a single mother with a child to look after.

Judge Nic Parry said two days of valuable court time had been set aside at great expense to try what was potentially a serious matter.

It involved two men allegedly entering a family home and terrorising the occupants, including a child.

Witness Wayne Coffin, 37, of South Green, Sealand was told he knew full well that he was obliged to attend court to give evidence.

He had been served with a witness summons but failed to attend.

The judge said: “The message has to be understood that if witnesses fail to attend court then substantial costs are incurred and far, far more importantly, the public is denied justice.”

Coffin was jailed for 14 days and told that he would serve half of it.

Andrew Green, defending, said that at the back of Coffin’s mind was a fear of reprisals if he gave evidence.

Later Dina Johnson, a single mum who was said to have been inside the house at the time of the alleged incident, also admitted failing to attend.

Johnson, who sobbed throughout the hearing, was given a community sentence for 12 months under which she must carry out 80 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Parry told her: “You have to understand that the system of bringing cases to court in this country would collapse if witnesses simply failed to attend court.”

The judge said: “We will now never know (what the outcome would have been) because witnesses, including yourself, failed to attend.”

It deserved a prison sentence but he could not ignore the fact that she was a single mum with a five year old daughter to care for.

James Cullen, defending, said Johnson had not realised the seriousness of failing to attend, which was in effect a contempt of court.

Two men were earlier cleared at Mold Crown Court of charges of damage and public order.

Luke Vernon Laidlaw, 18 of Orchard Way in Garden City and Stephen James Parkhill, 21 of Bridge View in Garden City were due to go on trial.

But the prosecution offered no evidence against them when the witnesses failed to turn up.

See full story in the Leader

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