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Rubbish rage lands pensioner in court

PUBLISHED: 13:15 26 November 2008 | UPDATED: 09:16 13 July 2010

A pensioner involved in a case of rubbish rage was this week convicted of assault after he backed his car into a council worker.

James Browne visited a north Norfolk recycling centre on August 14 to dump two doors.

A pensioner involved in a case of rubbish rage was this week convicted of assault after he backed his car into a council worker.

James Browne visited a north Norfolk recycling centre on August 14 to dump two doors.

Cromer Magistrates' Court heard that the 70-year-old was told council regulations meant he could only recycle one door per week but Fergus Harald, prosecuting, said Browne had ignored that advice and discarded both doors anyway.

After being confronted by David Meacher, a worker at the Worstead centre, the prosecution said the defendant became abusive and drove his car into two staff members.

Browne denied both charges of assault, and another of driving without due care and attention.

Speaking in court on Monday, Mr Meacher said he told the defendant he would write down his registration number and report him. As he stood at the rear of the van, he claimed Browne reversed into him, forcing him backwards.

The worker walked to the side of the silver Vauxhall van and said “you've just hit me”, he told the court.

The prosecution claimed Browne, of Mundesley Road, Trimingham, near Norwich, then punched and kicked Mr Meacher before driving his car forward into his colleague, Sean Nunn.

But Alan Wheetman , defending, told the court his client was the real victim. Browne said he had not realised anyone had been standing behind his van when he reversed and did not believe he had hit anyone.

He claimed Mr Meacher opened his door and grabbed his arm, pulling it off the steering wheel as he tried to drive away. He said: “I was extremely worried, extremely frightened. Twenty years ago they wouldn't have put the wind up me quite so much.”

Paula Browne, the defendant's wife who was in the van during the incident, told the court her husband was not capable of hurting anyone. She said: “In 47 years of marriage, I have never known him fight anybody. I wouldn't imagine he would do that sort of thing. He just drove off because we were frightened.”

Cromer magistrates, who were shown CCTV footage capturing parts of the argument, found the pensioner guilty of one count of assault but acquitted him of the other charges.

Chairman of the bench Chris Armstrong said: “We believe Mr Meacher was struck by the reversing van. We do not find this a deliberate act, but it was reckless.”

Browne was ordered to pay a total of £215 in a fine and costs.


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