Ipswich: Man up for theft and fraud tells court ‘I am not a person’

IPSWICH: A man charged with theft told a court that he was not a person, but a living being.

Ben Douglas appeared at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court charged with one count of theft and two of fraud by false representation.

But in a twist, the 22-year-old, of Dumbarton Road, Ipswich, refused to accept liability for the name Ben Douglas, one he admits he uses.

Insistent on being referred to as “friend of the court”, the man told magistrates presiding he believed a mistake had been made in the case.

Holding him in contempt of court, for refusing to co-operate, the chairman of the bench Jo Cotton sent him to the cells for the lunch break to allow him time to think about whether he was willing to help the court.

Resuming after lunch, with District Judge David Cooper presiding, the court heard the theft charge relates to an allegation he stole his sister’s laptop, valued at �200 between July 1 and 8.

Prosecuting, Sarah-Jane Atkins told the court the fraud by representation charges relate to Douglas allegedly selling the laptop for �90 as well as other items after declaring he was the legal owner.

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Unrepresented, Douglas said: “I use that name (Ben Douglas) but do not accept liability for it.

“You can call me friend of the court.

“There is a mistake in this matter and I am here to help resolve it. I want to know who is liable for that name, is it a person or corporation?

“I am not a person, I am a living being. If the name has been charged, I don’t see how I am liable.

“I am not the name, that is the mistake.”

District Judge David Cooper told Douglas he believed he would be liable for the name.

He told the court: “If you act in a particular way, whatever you call yourself, you could call yourself Mickey Mouse if you like, you would still be liable for your actions.

“The only way you would not be liable for your actions is if you are insane and don’t know what you are doing.”

When put to him the only way to make progress in the case was to plead guilty or not guilty, Douglas answered: “I can’t do that if I am not liable for the name.”

Judge Cooper replied: “I will record a not guilty plea, it seems to be the only way forward.”

Douglas will next appear at the court in Elm Street on September 5.

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