The defence had a leg to stand on
One from the archives: this is an all-time classic court report from Middlesbrough’s Evening Gazette.
Some wonderful detail, great quotes, and Simon Bland really is ‘one of life’s characters’. Probably best just to let the story do the talking…
Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 14 August 2008 (story):
One-legged addict jailed for dangerous driving
A ONE-LEGGED motorist who mowed down a binman and just missed a woman with a pushchair has been jailed.
Disabled driver Simon Bland repeatedly interrupted his sentencing hearing at Teesside Crown Court by speaking over the judge and barristers – beginning as prosecutor Ian Mullarkey attempted to explain the case.
Mr Mullarkey said on July 7 last year an off-duty PCSO spotted Bland get out of his Ford Focus at a petrol station on Marton Road in Middlesbrough – naked from the waist down.
Bland, 36, was arrested later in the day after being spotted again with the car careering onto pavements and into the paths of other vehicles causing motorists to take evasive action.
He was reported to police again on July 31 after being seen driving at less than 5mph on the A171. He then got to Ormesby Bank where he picked up speed, clipped a kerb and almost hit a young girl on a cycle before going into the path of a van which managed to steer clear. He later mounted a pavement again and struck binman Buster Carter, who was left unable to work for six weeks. And on November 22 he just missed a woman pushing a pram as he tried to reverse.
As promised, Bland – who lost his leg in 2002 – was given the opportunity to speak. He told the judge, who he repeatedly called Les: “I have the utmost respect for you people in authority.”
Bland then spoke of his youth at Stokesley Comprehensive, the Gulf War and how he dreamed of being a Marine. “I joined the French Foreign Legion,” he added. “I was with them for four years, no, three years. I had to do a runner from them. It was too hard. I can’t go back to France – I will be arrested.”
Bland apologised to the binman who he referred to as “Buster Douglas”. He then spoke of a hairdresser who was at school with his brother before being interrupted by Judge Spittle.
He was jailed for 12 months and banned from driving for three years. As he was led down to the cells he asked to be banned from driving for five years instead, before shouting: “Thanks everyone, thanks judge, I appreciate it.”