Drunk's prison sentence is halved

A HOMELESS drunk who has repeatedly flouted the terms of an anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) faces a shorter term in prison today after an appeal court halved his sentence.

A HOMELESS drunk who has repeatedly flouted the terms of an anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) faces a shorter term in prison today after an appeal court halved his sentence.

Michael Debenham, 55, was sentenced to three years in prison in November after breaching an Asbo which banned him from drinking in Ipswich, being in possession of aftershave in the town and sleeping in Ipswich's parks.

Debenham appealed the sentence at London's Court of Appeal and last week had his sentence halved.

Andy Solomon, anti-social behaviour network manager for Ipswich, said: “Mr Debenham is a man that is in need of help for his alcohol problems and when he received the lengthy prison sentence I was hopeful that he might be able to access the help and support he needed to deal with his problems.

“I also think a sentence of detention for breaching the Asbo would have sent a strong message to those who treat Asbos flippantly, that actually if you do breach them the courts will take the matter seriously.”

It is not the first time Debenham, who is an alcoholic, has appealed sentences imposed on him.

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In July last year, he was sentenced to six months in prison for breaching an Asbo and had that sentence cut by two months in an appeal at Ipswich Crown Court.

And, in October 2002 he unsuccessfully appealed against a 15-month jail term imposed when he was found with a firearm in an Ipswich supermarket.

Debenham has now been given two Asbos, the first banning him from sleeping in parks and drinking alcohol in Ipswich.

He has breached that order twice since it was imposed on May 20, 2006, on the first occasion within hours of the order being put in place.

He was given a community order for that offence but breached the Asbo again on June 6 when he was found under the influence of alcohol outside Ipswich's Corn Exchange.

On that occasion he was found in possession of alcohol and made obscene gestures at a police car.

Following his release from prison he was given another Asbo with an additional requirement that he did not have aftershave in his possession - it is not clear whether this is because he is known to steal aftershave or if it is because he drinks it.

In November he breached that order when he was found with beer and aftershave and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Do you agree that the sentence should have been reduced? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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