A Sussex couple who pleaded guilty to committing sexual acts in a public place blamed train ticket prices for turning up late to court.
Grant Fraser and Laura Tyler from Littlehampton changed their pleas after an accusation of having sexual intercourse in public was removed from the charge at Worthing Magistrates’ Court.
The incident involving Fraser, 27, and Tyler, 31, occurred in Littlehampton on August 1 last year, the court heard. Tyler also pleaded guilty to resisting a constable on the same day.
Earlier, there was confusion in court as the pair failed to turn up at 9.30am when they were legally supposed to, and their solicitors were unaware of their whereabouts.
The case was postponed on two occasions while they were found, and their solicitors both withdrew from the case when it seemed they were not going to appear.
But just as the trial was about to go on without them, Chris Chatterton, representing Fraser, re-entered the courtroom to say the pair had been found at Worthing railway station.
When they eventually turned up at court at 10.30am, Fraser and Tyler entered with sleeping bags and several plastic bags of belongings. The case was further delayed while they used the toilet.
The reasons given for their lateness was that Tyler had to pick up medication at 9am, and Fraser had to get more money from his grandmother for train fare because tickets were more expensive in the rush hour.
He also did not realise that ticket prices had increased in the New Year, the court heard.
The magistrates decided not to punish them for being late, but chairman of magistrates Wayne Wealleans said: “When you are bailed for 9.30, it does not mean you can breeze in at half 10. It means that you could be committing an offence and that you could go to prison.
“There is no reason why you couldn’t have made arrangements beforehand and arrived promptly. If you find yourself in this position again, you might not be so lucky.”
The court heard how Tyler is currently homeless after she lost her accommodation on Christmas Day.
At the trial, Fraser pleaded guilty to damaging a window worth £100 at the Dutch Bike Company’s premises in Pier Road, Littlehampton on May 9 last year.
Tyler has also been charged with stealing two joints of meat worth £43 from Sainsbury’s on September 10 last year, which she had pleaded guilty to on October 8.
The case was adjourned until January 30 at 10.30am, when the pair will be sentenced at Worthing Magistrates’ Court.
Fraser was heard to say ‘Happy New Year’ to Mr Wealleans just as he left the courtroom.