A man accused of two hold-ups appealed from the dock of the Old Bailey for help in contacting a witness, and a sympathetic judge answered his call instantly. Judge Richard Lowry, QC, offered his phone card to the man, David Christian, as smiling jurors looked on. Christian, 24, from New Cross, south London, was defending himself after sacking his barrister. He denied the attempted robberies, but was convicted. Judge Lowry then sentenced him to two years' jail.

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