Page last updated at 13:26 GMT, Thursday, 26 November 2009

Urinating student avoids prison

Philip Laing
Laing said he had no recollection of the night's events

A student who admitted outraging public decency after he was pictured urinating over a Sheffield war memorial has been ordered to do community service.

Philip Laing, 19, of Macclesfield, Cheshire, was charged after the Daily Mail website published the photograph.

The Sheffield Hallam University student, who had been drinking heavily, had been warned he faced jail.

He was told to complete 250 hours' community service when he appeared at the city's magistrates' court.

District Judge Anthony Browne said he had decided against jailing Laing.

He said: "I have never seen anyone more contrite for what has happened nor one who regrets more the hurt and distress he has caused.

All this is set against a backdrop... of a culture of drinking far too much
District Judge Anthony Browne

"You have understandably had the wrath and indignation of the public heaped upon you and your family."

The court heard Laing started his night out on 11 October by sharing a bottle of whisky with a friend before consuming further alcohol at an event organised by the private company Carnage UK.

The sports technology student said he had no recollection of the events of the night until he was contacted by the university press office and shown the photograph which later appeared on the newspaper's website.

University disciplinary

The judge said: "No-one forced you to take all this drink, or forced it down you, or persuaded you to commit a criminal offence.

"You did that all by yourself and you must take responsibility.

"But all this is set against a backdrop, as your solicitor has said, of a culture of drinking far too much.

"In my view something does need to be done to change this culture.

"What you have done has outraged and offended many and has saddened most."

Tim Hughes, defending, told the court of his client's utter remorse.

"Philip Laing has paid an extremely high price for one evening of complete and utter foolishness."

He said Laing had no idea where he was when he was urinating.

"He could have been standing in the middle of Hillsborough football ground, frankly."

Mr Hughes said Laing had never been in trouble with the police and that prison would "utterly destroy what could otherwise be a good, hard-working, tax-paying life."

He added: "In terms of remorse - absolutely, it's from every pore."

The judge, who also ordered Laing to pay £185 costs, said the student had been significantly punished and that Sheffield Hallam University was still to decide on his future.

A spokesman for Sheffield Hallam University said: "The university has already initiated disciplinary proceedings against this student.

"Now that the judicial process has been completed we will arrange a disciplinary hearing to decide appropriate sanctions."



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SEE ALSO
Jail threat for urinating student
04 Nov 09 |  South Yorkshire
Student on public decency charge
16 Oct 09 |  South Yorkshire

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