Hike sentence

Swindon man avoids jail time despite using taser during pub fight

A man who brandished a taser during a pub fight has escaped jail time.

James Webdell appeared at Swindon Magistrates’ Court today (Monday September 26) to be convicted of possessing an electrical incapacitation device under the Firearms Act.

Prosecutor Keith Ballinger said the 33-year-old defendant, of Conan Doyle Walk in Liden, was arrested following reports of a fight at the Tap and Barrel in Manchester Road on July 4.

When officers arrived at the scene, they spoke to Webdell, who was holding a small torch-like device which he then dropped. They immediately noticed wires sticking out of it.

Speaking to witnesses, the officers established that the weapon had been handled during the disorder. The device was seized and sent for forensic examination, which confirmed it was a viable Taser.

Mark Glendenning, defending, said his client had “a long history with the courts and perhaps a longer history with alcohol”.

He said Webdell has since moved away from a negative social circle and spends most of his time with his partner and young daughter.

Asking the court for a suspended prison sentence, he said the defendant had growths in his colon that may have been cancer and was undergoing ongoing treatment, including surgery.

District Judge Joanna Dickens said the crime was “really, really serious” but told Webdell she would not send him to jail – instead suspending the jail sentence.

She handed down a six-month prison sentence suspended for two years. He was told to complete 40 days of rehabilitation activity, a six-month alcohol treatment order and 12 mental health sessions.