Northampton teenager avoids jail for 'frightening' incident involving knife because of prosecution delays
Judge: 'I have no doubt if this had gone to the court in one go, you would be in custody now and serving a sentence'
A Northampton teenager avoided going to jail for wielding a knife during a 'frightening' incident because of the delay in charging him.
Jay Buzzard threatened to kill a male as he sat in a car with his mother before smashing the windscreen with the handle of the knife in Northampton in April, 2020.
The 19-year-old, of Alexander Court, has a previous conviction for possessing a bladed article and was given a suspended jail sentence for the same offence in June this year over an incident the previous month.
But Buzzard was not charged over the 2020 incident until July, leaving Recorder Christopher Donnellan frustrated when handing him a further suspended sentence at Northampton Crown Court on Thursday, September 23.
"I have no doubt if this had gone to the court in one go, you would be in custody now and serving a sentence," the judge told him.
"But I have come to the conclusion that notwithstanding it would be unjust in these circumstances to make you serve the sentence immediately.
"I'm going to suspend it but with additional condition that you are subject to a curfew with a tag to limit your freedom as a direct alternative to locking you up straight away."
Jonathan Dunne, prosecuting, said Buzzard was one of three men who circled the car containing their target and his mother in the afternoon of April 10, 2020.
They started shouting at the male and made threats to kill him before the defendant smashed the windscreen and ran off.
"This was a short-lived but violent and very frightening for the woman and her son," the prosecutor told the court.
A resident saw the group a few hundred yards away in a wooded area throwing the knife away, which they showed police the next day.
Buzzard was arrested and made no comment when interviewed by police - but he was not charged for more than a year and pleaded guilty on August 16.
Recorder Donnellan said it was 'fortunate nothing more serious has happened' as a result of the defendant carrying knives, after being caught in November, 2017, and May, 2021.
The judge described Buzzard as 'immature' but said there are signs he is 'growing up'.
Buzzard was sentenced to 16 months in jail, suspended for two years, given a six-month curfew from 6pm-6am and told to pay compensation, costs and the statutory surcharge.
Recorder Donnellan told him: "You won't get another chance, do you understand? If you are caught with any item that's sharp in your possession, no excuses, do you understand?
"Don't say you have forgotten as you know what you are going to be serving. You are free now to leave the court but I hope you don't come back."