The Prologue – Southwark Crown Court Sentencing April 7th 2011

9 Feb

I’m getting the train up, friends, family, girlfriend in tow. Catching the same train as the commuters in their early morning rush to the rat race, our train, our ride, has  an altogether different path. One that will inevitably grind to a sudden halt. Lifes like a derailment waiting to happen right now. I’ve felt like i hav esat in purgatory for an inordinately long time. Last night I could barely sleep and saying my goodbyes to those who couldn’t make court; well, it just felt terminal.

Every part of the humdrum route to Fenchurch and then on to Southwark, with my big bag, and big rag tag gang of loved ones, each one special to me; felt like a moment to savour.

Preparing myself for court for a while, I had a large overnight bag packed at the foot of my bed. A DAB radio unpacked, still in its box and this morning I exchanged my swiss made watch for something a little more practical.

I’m wearing a white shirt and a black tie. I need to look sombre, po-faced and accepting of my fate. To walk into court dressed up like a dandy don, is little short of foolish. Everyday I give to the prosecution is a pin prick to my existence. Keep it short and sweet I’m telling myself. But in spite of all of this, there is a certain excitement festering beneath the surface. I’m not scared, i have waited too long for this and in part, its my own choosing to lay down arms and get it done with.

Southwark Crown Court is a sparsely furnished place. A juxtaposition, a multi-million pound piece of real estate with spectacular views and a considerable disinterest into its interior upkeep. I won’t bore you with the detail, many of you reading this know the feeling, the knots in our stomach, the fragile glimmer of hope; some eternal yet fruitless optimism that this may all go away in a cloud of curfews and suspensions – but it doesn’t.

I’m called to the court room, number 7, Harry Redknapp and co are in after me; how different are lives are, but maybe how similar they soon could be.

I’m called to the dock, bag in hand, I do my goodbyes and I prepare for the show.

Some toing and froing, some rises, some be seated. A clash of opinions and that faint glimmer of hope, the optimism that made my mother buy a return rail ticket for me (Bless her) comes hurtling to the fore. The FSA’s plea that they request I accept; (For the Fraud to be dropped) it seems is too ambigious. The FSA after years of pushing, come to court for sentencing in the hope that I can be pushed for more!

Abuse of process? Come now, these highly qualified barristers and solicitors employed in house at the FSA are hardly likely to be so inefficient at their job that they miss ambiguities in guilty pleas. So they push for me to accept more. So much more that I am actually being asked ot plead to the very charges that we had hoped a plea bargain would dismiss. The very charge that they have even accepted in court is not evidenced. The one charge I will fight tooth and nail against. This is one push to far.

I sit in a crowded conference room, with my big bag, and my rag tag gang of friends, family and girlfriend, as well as my legal team. I say in no uncertain terms:

“I will take somethings on the chin, but I won’t take it in the arse”

I don’t know whether they relayed it in such a colourful fashion, but I had gone beyond my tolerance threshold. I have to have some self respect.

The Judge sends us away. I’ve come this far, i’ve prepared for prison; why should I have to face two sentencing hearings. The day feels like torture for all those who stand behind me. The days off work, the travel, the expense and the pressure. That eternal optimistic glimmer of hope appears:

“Maybe the Judge will take pity on me….”



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