Law clerk stole wig 'because of race abuse'

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The Independent Online
A SOLICITOR'S clerk took revenge on a barrister whom he believed had racially abused him by stealing his wig as he was about to attend a hearing, a court was told yesterday.

Lanre Oke, for the defence, told the Old Bailey that John Sandiford was quite properly in the Southend Crown Court robing room, although he was wearing earphones, when he encountered Laurence Marshall, a barrister. 'He was asked what he was doing in what he considered impolite terms.

'That resulted in a heated exchange of words in the course of which the barrister used words to him which he considered racist and very upsetting.'

Sandiford, 29, of Barking, Essex, a solicitor's clerk for seven years, admitted stealing a wig and two collars last December. A charge of stealing Mr Marshall's gown was denied and stays on file.

Mr Oke said the principal motivation in taking the things was to inconvenience Mr Marshall, who was already late for court.

Imposing a three-year conditional discharge and ordering Sandiford to pay pounds 200 costs, Judge Rogers said: 'You are entirely the victim of your own conduct.'