Court hearing is moved outdoors

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A Scarborough man facing charges of making indecent images of children unwittingly made legal history by answering the allegations outside the courthouse.

Robert Newman, 47, is thought to be the first man to be arraigned in open air since York Crown Court opened its doors in 1777.

The disabled defendant arrived at The Castle, site of the Georgian courthouse, in a wheelchair and could not make it up the steps.

When his case was called, the Recorder of York Stephen Ashurst agreed with Newman’s barrister Glen Parsons that the defendant could not possibly make it into the courthouse.

The decision was therefore made to take the case outside and put the charge to the defendant within the court precincts, just below The Castle’s stone steps.

The judge, Mr Parsons and prosecutor David Lampitt duly held a formal court hearing outside, where the clerk read out the one charge against Newman, who pleaded guilty to making just over a thousand indecent images of children.

Mr Ashurst adjourned the case for probation reports and bailed Newman with the proviso that he notified police of any change in his circumstances.

The defendant, of Wooler Street, will be sentenced on September 29, when he will appear at the Crown Court via video link from Scarborough Magistrates’ Court, which has disabled access.

The Scarborough court was chosen ahead of York and Selby Magistrates’ Court, which does not have sufficient disabled facilities.