Criminal Justice

Agoraphobic Beats Rap Because He Can't Leave His Home for Trial


The prosecution wasn’t happy about it. But, because no practical way could be found to try an agoraphobic who reportedly hasn’t left his home for four years, the British government has dropped money-lending charges against Colin Watson, 62.

The Middlesborough resident got into trouble because, again due to his inability to leave his home, he couldn’t spend all of the public benefit money he receives because of various conditions, the Daily Mail reports.

So he allegedly began lending the excess to others, although he denies he made a profit from doing so. He had been charged in Teeside Crown Court with two counts of lending money without a Consumer Credit license, operating a money lending business without a license and concealing criminal property, but all four charges have now been dropped.

“He receives this money legitimately but it’s far in excess of his physical needs because he never gets out,” said defense barrister Brian Russell during a court hearing of the benefits his client gets.

“The fact is, he receives an extraordinary amount of public money as a result of his various conditions. They’ve been checked and checked and checked.”

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