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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Cumbrian man demands to know why he was locked up

An investigation has been launched after a man claimed he was locked up for 18 hours following a court blunder.

Marco Andreotti photo
Marco Andreotti

Marco Andreotti, 52, of Low Row, near Brampton, spent a sleepless night in Carlisle cells after a “breakdown in communication” between police and the court service.

Mr Andreotti had been due appear in Carlisle Magistrates Court last Friday in connection with a contested parking violation outside his home.

But he asked for an adjournment “in the interests of justice” to prepare a case, claiming that his request had been granted the day before his scheduled court appearance.

However, police turned up at his house at Dairy Cottages on Sunday with a warrant for his arrest and locked him up in Durranhill police station.

Mr Andreotti said police had told him they had first come to his house on Friday but he had been out.

He said: “The court system has failed. One minute you are planning to go to work, the next you are in jail.

“I was searched three times and handcuffed twice.”

When the police came to arrest him, he played back a voicemail message to convince officers that his case had indeed been adjourned. Although police were “sympathetic”, they told him that they had no choice but to serve the warrant.

He said: “The police said, ‘You will just have to tell the magistrates in the morning.’

“I’m absolutely flabbergasted. I can’t believe it’s happened especially when an explanation is offered and no-one can verify it.

“Cells aren’t built for comfort and it’s a harrowing experience, especially if you are innocent.

“I was bemused. It’s quite a scary thing. I was searched then placed in a cell. I had no sleep and kept tossing and turning and looking at the window to see when it got light because I had no idea what time it was.

“In the morning a woman asked me if I had any drug or alcohol issues. I was searched again at Carlisle police station, handcuffed, and placed in a prison van.”

He was searched again at the magistrates court and led up to the dock in handcuffs.

“The clerk said, ‘I don’t know why you have been arrested and put in custody’ and I said, ‘Neither do I’.”

He added that the magistrates had encouraged him to make a formal complaint about the court service and to seek financial redress.

Mr Andreotti was released without charge and paid £30 for a taxi home, money he intends to claim back from the court.

The News & Star tried repeatedly to get a response from Carlisle Magistrates Court but were told that no comment could be made until after a formal complaint had been received.

But a spokesperson for Her Majesty’s Courts Service said yesterday: “We are urgently investigating what has happened in this case.”

Mr Andreotti was issued with a ticket on October last year for blocking the pavement outside his house with a trailer. He is due to appear before the court on April 13.

He claims that someone moved the trailer against the wall while he was visiting his father in Scunthorpe.

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