Page last updated at 10:31 GMT, Tuesday, 5 May 2009 11:31 UK

Man 'reasonable' to reject jacket

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Kane Beales said the jacket advertised he had done something wrong

A man who refused to carry out a community order while wearing a high visibility jacket had a reasonable excuse, a district judge has ruled.

Kane Beales, 19, of Caister, Norfolk, was accused of breaching the order by failing to work as instructed.

Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court heard Beales was given the unpaid work requirement last September.

The judge said the rule to wear the vest was introduced three months after the defendant signed his agreement.

Beales was originally given a suspended sentence with an unpaid work requirement for possessing a knuckleduster, a flick knife and drinking excess alcohol in September last year, the court heard.

'Cause humiliation'

He said at an earlier hearing that the jacket would cause him humiliation and embarrassment, and he should not be forced to wear it.

The Community Payback jackets were introduced as part of an initiative to show that justice was being done.

Beales had denied failing to work as instructed and was prosecuted by the Probation Service, which argued that the public had a right to know what unpaid work was being carried out, and to see that justice was being done.

District Judge Philip Browning said: "The requirement to wear the marked vest was introduced and imposed some three months after the defendant signed his agreement, which did not include such a requirement, which in itself was an important and significant change.

"There is no evidence that the defendant was informed of the new requirement before he attended for work."

Beales' lawyer, Annette Hall, said the ruling was a "victory" but said it was unclear whether Beales would have to wear the jacket in completing the remainder of his unpaid work requirement.



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