A MAN facing trial over an assault charge was back in the dock for breaching his bail conditions – after breaking a curfew by going for a smoke.
Gavin Clyne was given bail conditions to live and sleep at his home address in Sycamore Avenue, South Shields, not to enter Gordon Road in the town, and keep to an electronically tagged curfew from 7pm until 7am each day until his trial date after denying a common assault charge on a woman.
But the 31-year-old broke the curfew after going into his garden for a smoke – as his mother does not allow him to light up in the house.
He returned from his cigarette break at 8.25pm on Thursday, and phoned his tag operators to tell them why he was out of the property.
As he was outside for 12 minutes, it didn’t trigger the 15-minute time violation which triggers a breach.
The operators told him to ‘be careful’ about going outside – but he wrongly believed smoking on the doorstep leading to the garden would not be breaking the curfew.
He went out on the step at 9.49pm but stayed outside for longer than 15 minutes, breaching the curfew.
Clyne admitted breaching his bail when he appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court from custody yesterday.
“There were two time violations. The first was at 8.25pm. He came back at 8.37pm. He phoned the tag operators to say he had been in the garden having a smoke.
“That he goes out again after that is at best naive. My suggestion is he should be given a final warning.
David Forrester, defending, said: “He goes in the garden for a cigarette for 12 minutes. It doesn’t trigger the arrest because it doesn’t reach 15 minutes.
“He rings up the curfew operators and is told to be careful. He takes it to mean he can sit on the step. But whether you’re an inch or a mile outside the property doesn’t matter.
“The police came at 4.30am in the morning to arrest him.”
He is due back at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court for the trial on September 2.
Mr Forrester asked magistrates to re-admit Clyne to the same bail conditions until his trial date. The bench agreed, with a warning for him to make sure his tobacco fix doesn’t land him in trouble.
Laverne Elrick, chairman of the magistrates, said: “You will have to do without your cigarettes for the 12 hours of the curfew. Be careful, and don’t breach the order before your trial date of September 2.”