Man found guilty of Exmouth knife crime claimed community payback work breached his human rights

PUBLISHED: 12:51 12 September 2018 | UPDATED: 13:49 13 September 2018

Exeter Crown Court.

Exeter Crown Court.

Archant

An offender who refused to do community payback work unless the probation service paid his travel costs has been told to change his ‘silly attitude’ or go to jail.

Luke Venton claimed it was a breach of his human rights for the probation service to expect him to pay £5 of his own money in the train fare from Exmouth to Exeter to carry out the work.

He was ordered to do 120 hours unpaid work for an incident in which he terrified customers at a pub in Exmouth with an eight inch knife last year.

He only did eight hours of the work before missing a string of appointments and sending an e-mail to supervisors which said he could not afford the train fare to Exeter.

Unemployed solicitor Venton, aged 38, of Exeter Road, Exmouth, denied breaching a community order but was found guilty by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court.

He ordered him to complete the 120 hours of unpaid work and do 10 days of rehabilitation activities with the probation service.

He told him he should spend less money on drinking so he could afford the train fare and told him he risks going to jail if he fails to do the unpaid work.

He said: “There must be no more of this silly attitude. He need to understand the seriousness of the situation. The court has the power to revoke this order and impose an immediate prison sentence. I am sure he doesn’t want that.”

Mr Nigel Wraith, prosecuting, said an extra ten hours had already been added to the order because of previous breaches but in June he turned up for one work session and then sent messages saying he could not afford to go to others.

He said the probation service only pay travel expenses if someone does more than one day of work a week, and then not for the first day.

Venton said receives £767 universal credit a month but pays £450 rent. He said his right to ‘a normal adult life’ was being taken away by having to spend money on travelling to Exeter.

He said: “I believe my human rights have not been regarded by the probation service. I didn’t get a lawful deal. I don’t have the money to live a full adult life.”

In the original case Venton admitted possessing a knife in a public place and received a community order with the unpaid work requirement.

He was caught on CCTV in May 2017 as he waved a sheath knife around in the Oddfellows Arms in Exmouth. Footage showed him pulling it from a back pocket, unsheathing it, and throwing it into the air three times before catching it.

A group of women who were on a night out at the pub were so frightened they left and called the police.

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