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'Silent man' on trial for traffic obstruction keeps quiet in court.

Byline: JASON EVANS Reporter

A"SILENT man" who stands in the middle of a busy Swansea road and stops the traffic has been jailed for breaching a criminal behaviour order.

During earlier court proceedings relating to the allegation, David Hampson, 48, was silent, leading to a not guilty plea being entered on his behalf.

Before he could stand trial yesterday, a jury found the defendant guilty of another charge - being "mute of malice". This initial trial took place to decide whether Hampson chooses not to speak (mute of malice) or is unable to speak due to some physical or psychological condition (mute due to visitation of God).

As the proceedings began, the clerk of the court asked Hampson to confirm his name - he said nothing. Carina Hughes, prosecuting, told the jury the Crown's case was that Hampson can speak but chooses not to. She said this behaviour had developed over a number of years - though it is not known why.

A witness - a prison officer from HMP Swansea - was asked if Hampson had ever spoken to him. He said that although Hampson doesn't talk much, he had heard the defendant speak on a number of occasions, including asking prison staff for items such as tobacco and batteries for his cell TV remote control.

Another HMP Swansea prison officer said the defendant once asked him if he could see a prison nurse, then requested paracetamol.

A Swansea police officer who came into contact with Hampson told the court he offered the defendant a cup of tea and Hampson replied that he would have one later.

After each witness spoke, Judge Peter Heywood asked Hampson if he wanted to ask any questions or challenge anything they had said but each time he said nothing.

The judge asked Hampson if he wished to submit any medical evidence or documentation for the jury to consider - there was no response. After finding Hampson "mute of malice", the jury heard the second case. The court heard Hampson was accused of breaching a criminal behaviour order by standing in the middle of the road near Swansea Central police station on June 15, blocking the flow of traffic. The order prohibits Hampson from unnecessarily obstructing the highway or any public place in England and Wales.

The court heard the order was imposed by Swansea Crown Court in April 2017 and lasts for five years.

Miss Hughes read a statement by PC Rob Fisher, who said he saw a man standing in the middle of the road in front of a lorry at the junction of Grove Place and Mount Pleasant, and a large build-up of traffic. He said he took the man by left arm, and led him to the pavement.

Judge Heywood asked Hampson if he wanted to say anything, make any legal representations, or have him ask something on his behalf - the defendant said nothing.

The jury found Hampson - who has 14 previous convictions for some 22 offences - guilty. Miss Hughes said he began obstructing traffic in 2014, and has done so eight times.

Judge Heywood jailed Hampson to three and a half years. The defendant will serve half of that time in custody before being released.

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 21, 2018
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