Unorthodox judge praised for actions

A judge who let a defendant pop out of court to get cash to compensate an elderly assault victim has won praise for his actions.As reported in the Times last week, Judge Paul Downes told 42-year-old Gary Hickton, of Bulstrode Avenue, Dereham, that he was considering imposing an 18-month jail term or a nine-month jail term plus a £750 compensation order.

A judge who let a defendant pop out of court to get cash to compensate an elderly assault victim has won praise for his actions.

As reported in the Times last week, Judge Paul Downes told 42-year-old Gary Hickton, of Bulstrode Avenue, Dereham, that he was considering imposing an 18-month jail term or a nine-month jail term plus a £750 compensation order.

The judge allowed him to leave Norwich Crown Court and walk to a cashpoint to get the money for Shirley Smith.

A spokesman for Victim Support said: “It's unorthodox and we've never come across it before.

“But we like to see judges thinking and it seems he did that.

“Victims like to have compensation and want it sooner rather than later. We don't want to see judges bargaining with defendants, but it seems here that the judge was thinking about the victim and struck while the iron was hot.”

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The court heard Hickton lost his temper and pushed Mrs Smith after a minor disagreement in Swaffham Market Place.

Mrs Smith had broken her hip after falling and needed surgery.