Defendant asks judge for a law book from dock

6:30am Saturday 21st December 2013

A MAN who is due to stand trial for four counts of burglary asked a judge if he could borrow a law book over Christmas – and had his request granted.

Henry McGrath, of no fixed address, denies carrying out four break-ins, two thefts and one attempted theft on January 15 this year in Watlington.

Yesterday the 57-year-old appeared at Oxford Crown Court for a pre-trial hearing during which a provisional date was set for his case to be heard on June 30 next year.

But as he was being taken back to HMP Bullingdon, McGrath, who is currently representing himself, asked if he could make a request of Judge Ian Pringle.

He said: “Your honour, before I go down for Christmas and the New Year, I wanted to ask if I can get a copy of your law book, to help in case I’m not able to get representation?”

Judge Pringle replied: “Do they not have copies of [the law textbook] Archbold in Bullingdon?’’ The defendant answered: “Well, I’ve made enquires your honour and I was told they had a copy, but it’s been stolen.

“And with one book among six or seven hundred inmates, I can understand why it was allegedly stolen.’’ The judge was then told by the court’s listings officer it would be possible to lend McGrath a copy.

Judge Pringle asked him: “Would you also like the supplement?’’ McGrath said: “Yes please, your honour.’’

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