Norwich magistrate in courtroom rescue drama after defendant passes out
A magistrate and qualified paramedic jumped from the bench to come to a defendant’s rescue after she passed out in court – and went on to hand her a conditional discharge.
The 51-year-old defendant was at Norwich Magistrates’ Court yesterday to face a charge that she failed to make sure her child went to school.
She was sitting at the back of the court waiting for her turn before the magistrates when she suddenly collapsed and hit her head.
She was lying on the floor in the courtroom when magistrate Paul Postle jumped from the bench to her rescue.
He was one of the three presiding magistrates in court, and said his training as a paramedic “kicked in”, and he went to her aid.
Afterwards, the 65-year-old grandfather, from Bowthorpe, said: “She was sitting at the back of the court. She said that someone outside the court had told her that she could go to prison.
“And she found the experience of being in court waiting to go in the dock so overwhelming, the nerves got the better of her and she fainted.
“I saw her keel over, and I went to her assistance. I’m a qualified paramedic.
“I went over to her and we managed to revive her. I spoke to her, felt her pulse.
“I asked her about her medical history. She said she had eaten breakfast.
“She was lying on the floor. We left her where she was and gave her a glass of water. We left her in a horizontal position. She had a bruised right leg after falling when she fainted. We managed to get her up and sitting upright, and she said she was OK to continue.
“We then let her plead her case from the back of the court rather than from the dock.”
The woman, from Norwich, was handed a 12-month conditional discharge after pleading guilty to failing to secure her child’s regular attendance at school between September last year and March 2014.
Mr Postle, who has been a magistrate for 20 years, added: “The reason I did it was that my training just kicked in. I worked at accident and emergency for 28 years as a staff nurse and paramedic.”
He said during his two decades as a magistrate, he had never experienced anything like this before.
His actions impressed the defendant’s solicitor Ian Fisher, who said: “I heard a big bang when she fell to the floor. I was really impressed with the magistrate’s response.”
Mr Fisher said in mitigation for his client that she had never been in trouble before, and added that the whole family had come down with a bug in February, which had necessitated her son’s absence from school.
Have you got an unusual story? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.