Hard-up Gordon Miller was convicted of two charges of harassment in his absence on December 10 and 14 last year at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court after he travelled to Turkey a day before the first case.
But a judge today ruled the 52-year-old had a ‘reasonable cause’ for not attending the cases after builder Miller said he was in agony with a swollen face and painful teeth, having had bridge and crown work done on the cheap in the country eight years ago.
District Judge Anne Arnold cleared him of two charges of failing to surrender to custody relating to the two trials, reopened his harassment cases and rescinded the convictions. New trial dates will be set tomorrow.
Miller, of Winchester Road, Buckland, faces a charge of harassing his elderly neighbours at his other home in Tangier Road, Baffins, and the same charge against the landlord of The Baffins pub. He denies the charges.
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Speaking in court representing himself at his brief trial today, Miller said: ‘It was two afternoon trials and the prosecution had one witness. It didn’t seem as if it was a major thing.’
Prosecutors alleged he had taken a holiday to Turkey and Miller had shown them a museum ticket bought during his stay. He said it was a trip to a castle on the way back from having his dental treatment.
But Miller said: ‘It wasn’t a holiday in Turkey, I went there alone - it was pouring down with rain constantly.
‘I went there with money for my children’s Christmas, it wasn’t done lightly. I did enquire to go there a week later - it was £600 extra.’
Miller told the court having the treatment in Britain would have cost him up to £3,000 while he could get it for just a few hundred pounds in Turkey.
He also detailed how he emailed the court on December 3 outlining his problem, called the NHS number 111 and went to a dental practice in Fareham for antibiotics before taking the trip between December 9 and 16.
‘I didn’t go all the way to Turkey to spend it in the pouring rain and have my teeth removed just to avoid court,’ Miller said.
Judge Arnold said: ‘Given the defendant’s evidence, the documents we’ve seen to support what he says, I’m satisfied that he did have a reasonable cause for failing to answer his bail on December 10.’
The judge dismissed the second charge of failing to surrender on the basis he would not have been informed his bail was extended from December 10 to 14 as he was not represented.
Miller was bailed to appear at court tomorrow.