Magistrate Adam Roberts confiscated a man’s cellphone and sent him down into the court’s holding cells after the phone rang twice on Tuesday morning while Summary Court was in session.
The phone’s ring tone was loud music. The first time it was heard, the magistrate said if it happened again the phone holder would spend time in the cells for contempt of court.
Just before 11 a.m., it did happen again – the same music from the same area of the filled gallery. The magistrate asked whose phone it was and sent the marshal to find it. He asked again and Patrick Joseph Miller raised his hand.
The magistrate directed an officer to accompany Mr. Miller down the stairs into the cells, telling him he would spend the next hour there.
Not long after, the magistrate asked defense attorney Jonathon Hughes if he had any other matters to mention. Mr. Hughes said yes, but his client had been sent downstairs, referring to Mr. Miller.
After a few moments, the attorney went down into the cells and, shortly after he returned to the courtroom, the magistrate had Mr. Miller brought up. As soon as Mr. Miller stepped into the dock, he asked to apologize for what had happened.
The magistrate accepted the apology and said Mr. Miller had purged his contempt. However, he added, the ringing phone had inconvenienced the court. He was therefore going to inconvenience the offender. “Surrender your phone and come back and get it at 4 p.m.,” he directed.
Mr. Miller handed his phone to a court officer, nodded his agreement and left.