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Alleged thief left court hearing because daily journalist was present

Paul ShewardAn alleged thief refused to take part in a court hearing because a reporter from a regional daily was present.

Paul Sheward, left, walked out while appearing before Worcester magistrates via videolink after being informed a Worcester News journalist was covering his case.

The 31-year-old’s defence counsel told the court he refused to be part of the hearing because the press had covered his previous offending.

Sheward was facing five charges of stealing from shops in Droitwich and Worcester, as well as a sixth charge of attempted theft of alcohol, between 15 and 21 July.

According to a piece on the hearing by News journalist Sam Greenway, Sheward asked twice whether a court reporter was present after he had been asked to confirm his name and address.

When a court clerk confirmed there was a reporter in the court room, Sheward said: “I am not prepared to go any further”.

He then walked out of the room at HMP Hewell, near Redditch, from where he had appeared via viedolink.

Sam Lamsdale, defending Sheward, told magistrates that she had explained to him before the hearing that a reporter would be in court.

Miss Lamsdale added Sheward was refusing to be part of the hearing as the press had previously covered his offending, which included convictions for robbery, battery, and assaults.

Magistrates were told by the court clerk that the hearing was likely to be rearranged to a time Sheward could be brought to appear in person at the court.


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  • July 31, 2018 at 9:42 am

    How is it that this prisoner was allowed to stop his hearing at public expense? How is that possible?

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  • July 31, 2018 at 10:37 am

    Based on my dealings with incompetent court staff in recent years, I fully expect to be reading in the next few weeks about how the same reporter has been kicked out of court on the whim of this defendant.

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  • July 31, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    Why didn’t the magistrates or the court official have the whit or guts to point out to him that, in the main, a court is a public place and members of the public, including reporters, are entitled to be there.
    He should be reminded of the saying: “If you don’t want to do the time, don’t do the crime.”

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  • July 31, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    This is outrageous- and a story in itself. The magistrates’ association need to be told.

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  • August 1, 2018 at 8:58 am

    That’s a direct contempt so I don’t understand why the beaks didn’t issue a bench warrant to have him produced as soon as the prison service could transport him.

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  • August 1, 2018 at 11:33 am

    Why hasn’t he been sent down for contempt? The magistrates should be hanging their heads in shame.

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  • August 1, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Furthermore I think it should be reported on, as the public has a right to know what a nasty piece of work this man is…NOTE convictions for robbery, battery, and assaults. Where were the prison wardens and the magistrate on this case? How many more prisoners will refuse to be tried for various reasons. It’s criminal!

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