King's Lynn judge rejects autistic man's appeal

An autistic man who had a criminal behaviour order (CBO) imposed on him for repeatedly filming police officers has lost his appeal against the order.

Marcus Potter, 20, from Wymondham, Norfolk, was sentenced for public order offences and obstructing the police.

He was given a conditional discharge and CBO but has been held in Norwich Prison for breaching the order in November 2017.

A King’s Lynn Crown Court judge dismissed the appeal.

Judge David Radford said he was satisfied that Potter understood the terms of the CBO, which banned him from Norwich city centre.

The judge said there was evidence that the order was helpful and should stand.

Oliver Haswell, prosecuting, said a joint report by psychiatrists for the prosecution and the defence found that Potter required specialist mental health support to help prevent him reoffending.

He added that Potter has said he will accept any treatment.

‘Not criminal’

Jonathan Goodman, defending, said it was clear his client needed mental health support rather than a CBO “which would set him up to fail”.

He said: “It criminalises behaviour which is clearly not criminal.”

Judge Radford said the psychiatrists’ report said the CBO alone was unlikely to prevent reoffending but he also needed specialist support.

The judge said he was pleased Potter was seeking assistance and a county council plan had been put in place.

But “that does not mean that the CBO is of no utility. In our judgement it is helpful so he knows exactly what he is prohibited from doing”.

A campaign has been set up on social media to release Potter, supported by actor Richard Mylan, who has an autistic son.

Skip Twitter post by @RichardMylan

20 yo Marcus is being held in Norwich HMP since 17/11/2017. His crime is being Autistic. He films the Police and they find him a nuisance. Obsessions are sometimes challenging this it is not Justice keeping him in Prison. Something needs to be done. RT #FreeMarcus

— Richard Mylan (@RichardMylan) December 23, 2017

End of Twitter post by @RichardMylan

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