Cannabis consuming teenager ordered to draw judge and solicitors three times a week
A 16-year-old at Londonderry Magistrates Court in Northern Ireland — having failed a police drugs test on Wednesday — has received a somewhat unusual order from the bench.
District Judge Barney McElholm — clearly fancying a self-portrait for chambers — ordered the unnamed teenager to become the unofficial court sketch artist for the week.
The pot smoker — who according to a BBC News report has a penchant for all things artistic — must attend court for three days, bringing a sketch pad and pencil.
According to the report, Mr McElholm said:
You must bring with you a sketch pad and a pencil and you can draw me and the solicitors for two hours each day. Only me and the solicitors, and I will review the matter on Wednesday.
Warning the teen, he continued:
If you look stoned you will be arrested.
Martin Beckford, Home Affairs editor for the Mail on Sunday asked his 6,000-plus Twitter followers whether this was legal.
Judge orders teenager to draw him & lawyers http://t.co/6fYtEzWmmP but wouldn't he be breaking law if he is sketching inside courtroom?
— Martin Beckford (@martinbeckford) July 23, 2015
After some initial back and forth between Beckford and barrister-turned-legal-affairs-guru Andrew Keogh, both agreed McElholm would be in breach of the Criminal Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 1945, the legislation prohibiting images being sketched within Ulter courtrooms.
@martinbeckford yep that nails it
— CrimeLine Complete® (@CrimeLineLaw) July 23, 2015
It would appear the 16-year-old is in a bit of a predicament. Better have a quick spliff to calm down.