This . . . defies . . . belief . . ..
From the BBC:
An animal rights activist was jailed for six months for contempt after threatening a director of an animal laboratory in court.
The incident happened after Keith Mann, from Poole in Dorset, was sentenced for organising a raid on the same lab.
The 38-year-old had just been given a 230-hour community punishment order for the offence of conspiracy to burgle. [My emphasis . . . ed]
He was passing the public gallery when he threatened Chris Bishop, a director at Hampshire's Wickham Laboratories.
Judge Richard Price reconvened the court and held a short trial after which he jailed Mann for six months for contempt of court.
Mann, of Buckland Road, who was jailed in 1994 for 14 years for carrying out a terrorist-style sabotage campaign against the meat industry, had earlier been warned he faced a jail sentence on Friday.
But the judge decided to give him a chance and handed down the community punishment order after hearing the defendant was a carer for his partner. [My emphasis . . ed]
Here's what the BBC doesn't tell you about Mr. Mann and his history:
[ . . . ]
Judge Sir Stephen Mitchell sentenced Mann at the Old Bailey on December 19, 1994, to 14 years for 21 offences including arson, possessing explosives and escaping from custody.
Sentencing Mann, Sir Stephen described Mann as “dangerous and fanatical” and said that he used tactics that “bore all the hallmarks of terrorism”.
The charges against Mann, who was described by police as a ringleader of the Animal Liberation Front, related to a series of fire attacks on meat lorries including three parked at a slaughterhouse in Royton, Oldham.
He was also sentenced for escaping from custody after he managed to flee Stretford police station by scaling a 10ft wall.
He was recaptured 10 months later at a cat sanctuary run by Ms Hammond in East Sussex where he was working as a helper under an assumed name.
[ . . . ]
Mann was also sentenced at Coventry Crown Court on April 11, 2003 for aiding an animal sanctuary owner who defrauded the Government’s Individual Learning Account Scheme.
Mann, as well as his brother Anthony, worked as “recruiting sergeants” for Colin French to find bogus students to benefit falsely from education grants.
French, 36, of Hartwell Road, Ashton, Northamptonshire, admitted various counts of obtaining a total of £12,050 by deception and was jailed for 12 months.
Mann was given 40 hours’ community punishment and an 18-month rehabilitation order while his brother Anthony was fined £525.
So — back to the sanitized BBC report:
But as Mann left the court, he lent over Mr Bishop and said to him: "Your trouble has only just started, you will need to look under your bed," the court was told.
Sentencing Mann for contempt of court, Judge Price said: "I will not have people leaving my court saying that sort of thing. [ . . . ]
"I do not want to make him a martyr, he's just made himself one."
Personally, I'd rather have him be a martyr behind bars for 20 years or so than running around doing his terrorist thing — even if that does mean his partner will have to find another carer . . .
Forgive my insensitivity, but if Mr. Mann really had cared about his partner, he'd not have placed him or her at risk of going carer-less, which he most decidedly did when he opted to conspire to commit burglary.
Speaking after the hearing, Mr Bishop said: "I am extremely concerned about Mann's comment made to me, which was completely out of order, and threatening behaviour like that shouldn't be allowed to go on inside or outside of court."
Mann had been found guilty of organising a raid on the laboratory on 13 December, 2003 , which led to 695 mice and documentation being stolen.
He claimed he believed the tests were for cosmetic purpose and therefore illegal in the UK.
So sue Wickham Labs, or complain to the animal cops. Use the legal system — that's what it's for.
A second defendant, Melvyn Glintenkamp, 42, of North Drive, New Milton, was also been found guilty at the trial of conspiracy to burgle and was sentenced to 150 hours of community punishment.
What . . . can . . . I . . . say . . .
You really don't know whether to laugh or cry . . .
UPDATE: 5/4/05 Additional thoughts on this weirdness here.