Jailed burglar Wayne Bishop freed to care for children
- 27 May 2011
- From the section Nottingham
A burglar from Nottingham has been freed from jail on appeal so he can care for his five children.
Wayne Bishop, 33, was jailed for eight months for breaking into a rugby club and crashing into a police car.
He argued the judgement breached his human rights and the Court of Appeal agreed not enough attention was paid to the effect on his children.
Mick Taylor of Nottinghamshire Police Federation said he felt Bishop had been "let off" by the court.
Bishop, of Southchurch Drive, Clifton, who raided Mansfield Rugby Club along with three other men in September 2010, apologised to his victims after being released from Ranby Prison.
'Erred in law'
The court heard that after taking only some chocolate, Bishop and one of his accomplices had escaped in a Ford Transit van before clipping a police vehicle, driving through red lights and becoming trapped in a dead-end street.
He was sentenced to four months for burglary and four months for dangerous driving in April after admitting the charges at Nottingham Crown Court.
After arriving back home, Bishop said: "I'm overjoyed to be reunited with my children. It has been hard for me to be away for six weeks.
"It was the first time and I have done wrong. It was the spur of the moment ... but people need to understand how hard it is to be a single parent on benefits.
"I am sorry for the victims and I am not going to do it again."
Justice system 'wrong'
But Mr Taylor said the courts should give more support to victims and "pay a little less regard to how criminals feel about their rights being infringed".
"This is a classic case of everything that is wrong with the criminal justice system these days," Mr Taylor said.
He said a police officer could have been seriously injured in the incident.
"When he (Bishop) is in the pub tonight I think he will probably feel like he has been let off - and I am sure my members will feel he has been left off."
Ian Wise, QC, told Mr Justice Maddison and Mr Justice Sweeney that since his incarceration his children - aged between five and 13 - had been cared for by his sister during the week and his ex-partner at weekends.
His sister is a single parent with seven children to look after already - five of them her own - and she lives seven miles from the schools which her nieces and nephews attend, the court heard.
Pointing to Article 8 of the Human Rights Convention, Mr Wise said: "We submit that the judge erred in law in failing to have proper or any regard to the children that he was the sole carer for.
"The interests of the children should be central to the decision making process where children are affected by a decision."
Mr Justice Sweeney had questioned whether it was in the children's best interests for their father to be out committing burglary and asked who had been looking after them at that time.
But the judges together concluded that not enough attention had been paid to the effect on Bishop's children.
"It is important that criminals should not think that children can provide some sort of licence to commit criminal offences with impunity," said Mr Justice Maddison.
"All of that said, however, we have to be aware of the highly unsatisfactory and difficult situation faced by the children and those now doing their best to look after them.
Bishop's sentence was suspended for two years by the court.
The court was told that Bishop was the sole carer of his children for five nights a week.