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I quite like an occasional browse through the local papers. It’s always reassuring to find that people can behave even more stupidly than I can, and nowhere is it more apparent than in the crime reporting, which in this particular issue of the highly regarded journal the Braintree and Witham Times, May 8th, 2013, was on page 3. Makes a change from semi-naked women.

There was quite a lot of the usual suspects. ‘Roofer found with £1000 of cannabis in loft.’ ‘London man charged with local crimes.’ All a bit pedestrian. One story did catch my attention though. ‘Sex toy wrecker’s court case ‘disproportionate’’

This is an odd one. Prosecutors have been criticised for bringing a court case against a man for damaging his girlfriend’s 35 quid sex toy. Take a little while, if you must, to assimilate that. It took me a few seconds.

The defendant, one Felix Boachie (really?) had previously warned his then girlfriend about leaving sex toys around the house. I can see his point I suppose, though it might be a wizard wheeze for putting JoHos off their stride a bit.

Mr Boachie had gone to his girlfriend’s bedroom to look for a laptop. Instead he found the £35 vibrator, and destroyed it with a pair of scissors.

Several interesting aspects to this. Thirty five quid sounds quite a lot to me, though my knowledge of this particular divertissement is limited. Doesn’t it sound a lot to you for a glorified electric toothbrush? I think the purchaser would be justified in expecting flashing lights, bells, whistles… Oh, so you saw that episode of Sex in the City, then? Personally, for that money, I don’t think it would be unreasonable to expect it to show some affection by lighting your cigarette for you afterwards as well.

As I say, my experience is limited here, but I’m surprised he managed to inflict much damage on the device while armed only with a pair of scissors. An angle grinder or powersaw, a hedge trimmer, those might work. But these throbby things are pretty robustly built (or so I’m told), and I wouldn’t have thought a pair of scissors would make much of a dent.

The defence lawyer was a Mr Baker, which given the circumstances is a bit unfortunate; I bet he had some trouble at school when he was a mere Master Baker. Anyway, fair play to him. He found the whole thing ‘…ridiculous. If you fight in the street you get a fixed penalty notice. Destroy a sex toy and you have to go to court.’

The prosecution, Mr Allen, said that the case had gone to court because the pair had got into a confrontation when the police arrived. The police? Who the hell called them? Who shopped up the unfortunate Mr Boachie for chopping up a vibrator? I think we should be told. The public has a right to know.

Some further from a police spokesman.

‘A man was arrested following a domestic disturbance during which other allegations were made….these other allegations were not proceeded with but…authorised he should be charged with criminal damage….Essex Police has a duty to investigate a complaint and deal with it appropriately.’

That’s an interesting word, ‘appropriately.’ The prosecution threw out all but the criminal damage charge, and £35 doesn’t strike me as an ‘appropriate’ sum to justify a court case. The court, to its credit, refused to award costs against Mr Boachie, and he got a suspended sentence, meaning if he keeps his nose clean for the next six months he escapes the gallows. But it does mean that the good burghers of Essex have had to stump up the entire costs of bringing the case. I don’t think that’s an ‘appropriate’ use of taxpayers’ money at all.