Billy-Joe Kenney, 19, and two brothers aged 16 and 17 are accused of harassing disabled grandmother Carol Sainsbury, 48.Undaunted, the judge persevered, unable to quite believe his eyes at what was standing in his dock:
They openly giggled and laughed as the court heard how they subjected Miss Sainsbury and partner Dean Porter, 45, to six months of 'unbearable' torment.
The youths even answered back when District Judge David Meredith reprimanded them at Hinkley Magistrates Court, Leicestershire.
He asked them: 'Which bit do you find funny,' to which the 17-year-old replied, 'Everything really'.
Judge Meredith then said: 'I have listened to it and I don't find it funny,' to which the lad replied: 'She's not talking about you though, is she?'You see, the judge seems to believe that what he has in the dock is a normal human being, someone who has possibly done wrong, but who will, no matter how poor his demeanour outside court, quake when confronted with authority.
But this isn’t just any yob; this is a NuLabour yob…
He’s grown up totally unaffected by any kind of authority, either at home or at school. If he has had other run-ins with the law, they will have been dismissed or amounted to little more than a caution or a fine (which the State will pay from their own, or their parent’s, unemployment benefits). Or, of course, will be paid for from the proceeds of petty crime.
In fact, far from curbing their behaviour, the authorities will actually protect them from the decent families that have had too much of this kind of behaviour:
The harassment of Miss Sainsbury and Mr Porter allegedly began when Kenney moved into the area last June.And, of course, when the distress got too much to bear, the inevitable happened:
Mark Williams, prosecuting, said the bullying got steadily worse until it happened daily and was 'unbearable and antagonising'.
Miss Sainsbury sobbed as she told the court how she and Mr Porter were bullied up to eight hours every day between June and December last year.
She said the yobs played loud thumping music until the early hours of the morning despite repeated requests for it to be turned down.
They then 'screamed and shouted' from inside their house, which was next door, until 3am on some nights.
On other occasions Kenney and the two youths hung out of windows and shouted obscenities at the couple.
The court was also told that up to ten youths gathered outside the couple's house and swore at them 'almost every day'.
However, it was Mr Porter who ended up getting arrested when he confronted them on October 3 when his son Royston and two-year-old grandson came to visit.So, we can see that the police have helped to reinforce these thugs’ opinion of themselves as untouchable.
He was driven to a station, where he received a caution for threatening behaviour.
Carol's neighbour, Linda Pegg, told the court residents were powerless to stop the two brothers making their lives a misery, and claimed the police didn't help 'because they were too busy'.No, not too busy to arrest the victim, were they?
She said: 'The two brothers had been fine up until six months ago when problems started.Well, they came soon enough when the complainant was the yob, didn’t they?
'There were loads of children in the street when the Fiona Pilkington case was on going. Other neighbours complained about then loitering in the street.
'They gather on the street every weekend with others who are making a racket all night. The language they use to people is appalling.
'Carol Sainsbury would come out when the youths were shouting and ask them to stop. Her partner would ask as well.
'The police didn't do anything because they were too busy. What's the point in calling them because they never came.'
I suppose arresting an essentially law abiding man who they knew wasn’t likely to spit, swear and be an obnoxious pain in the backside proved too tempting…
Naturally enough, the defence is in full on blame-the-victim mode:
Cross-examining Miss Sainsbury, John Hallissey, defending, said: 'I suggest that the complaints you describe are an exaggeration.I tell you what, Hallissey.
'Is it possible that your description of the music is another exaggeration. Not only have you exaggerated you don't have any idea who has played it.
'Another of your complaints is that a group of youths were playing with their bikes, that's about the size of it.
'Do you think that you might be a little over sensitive to this?'
Why don’t you move in to this estate, stay a few months, and then you’ll know, won’t you? In fact, take Judge Meredith with you. It’d be nice for him to see a bit of the world…