Sentencing of Hoxton robber Sanchez Edwards adjourned for SIXTH time – after Judge decides it’s not ‘urgent’
- Credit: Archant
Sentencing of a “dangerous” addict who dragged a 92-year-old woman along the pavement during a robbery has been delayed for a sixth time – because one judge didn’t want to “go behind the back” of another.
At the last hearing on January 31, there were no beds secure enough for Sanchez Edwards at any psychiatric hospital in the country, and the case was adjourned until today. Edwards, 28, pleaded guilty in August to robbing the frail widow as she made her way to the Lawson Medical Centre off Hoxton Street, on June 27. The paranoid schizophrenic had been on the run from the John Howard medium secure unit in Homerton for a month by that point.
He was supposed to be sentenced on October 26 but Judge Joanna Greenberg ordered a psychiatric report. Sentencing was then due to take place on December 7, December 20, January 8, and January 31 – but no beds were free.
Wood Green Crown Court was notified on Friday that Kneesworth House Hospital in Hertfordshire had a space for him, and one of its judges ordered the matter to be listed today.
But Judge Greenberg, who had previously heard the case, is on holiday, and Judge Graham Arran was reluctant to take it over. “Is there an urgency about dealing with this man? “ he asked the court this morning.
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“I gather a bed has become available and we don’t want to miss it, but my preference would be for Judge Greenberg to deal with this. She has reserved the case so unless there’s a good reason for taking away that reserving, I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t go behind the back of another judge who has formed a view of her need to deal with it.”
The court clerk was told by the psychiatric hospital it will reserve the bed until March 7 when Judge Greenberg returns.
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At the last hearing Judge Greenberg branded Sanchez “dangerous”, and all parties involved agreed his offence falls into category 1 – denoting greater harm and culpability. Judge Arran however said he would deem the amount of forced used as category 2 – which would attract a sentence of about five years.
“It’s pretty straightforward,” he said. “He comes up behind a 92-year-old lady. She doesn’t let go of her bag and she’s dragged along the floor, cracking her ribs and leaving her with bruising.
“The amount of force doesn’t fall into category 1. It’s the effect of attacking an elderly lady who’s not so robust in the way she walked.”
The victim, who was recently widowed, was dragged three metres on the ground, leaving her with cracked ribs, a limp and ongoing anxiety.
Judge Greenberg has stated she wants to impose an “extended sentence” through a section 45a which is often referred to as a “hybrid order”.
This is to ensure convicted offenders, who could expect to attract a significant custodial sentence, do not end up serving significantly less time in the secure mental health system, but are not denied access to necessary mental health treatment for their disorder. It would mean Edwards would be treated in hospital “for as long as doctors consider necessary”, and then transferred to prison for the remainder of his sentence.
“It’s pretty rare,” said Judge Arran, referring to the hybrid order. “She [Judge Greenberg] knows all about It. More than I do.”