Twin admits faking identity while on remand

Ben Mitchell,Press Association
Sunday 23 October 2011 06:00

A man pleaded guilty today to attempting to pervert the course of justice by switching identities with his twin brother, causing him to be wrongly released from custody.

Simon Maclellan, 27, who was on remand at Winchester Prison in July for a serious assault, walked free from a court after he pretended to be his brother, Mark.

Maclellan, of Gosport, Hampshire, was released by magistrates but arrested the following day at an address in Fareham.

He entered a guilty plea at Portsmouth Crown Court to the charge of perverting the course of justice but pleaded not guilty to a second charge of escaping from lawful custody.

Judge Ian Pearson ordered a Newton hearing to determine whether Maclellan's reasons for pleading guilty are acceptable to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The court heard that on July 10, Maclellan was sharing a cell with his twin brother at Winchester Prison and that there was a mix-up with the dates of court appearances for the two brothers.

Maclellan says that he believed he was due to appear in court that day and when he was collected from his cell, the prison guard only checked his surname and not first name.

The court heard that when he was later released from custody at Fareham Magistrates' Court he claims he only took advantage of the case of mistaken identity.

He claims it was not a pre-planned attempt to escape from prison, the court heard.

Dan Sawyer, prosecuting, said that the prison guard says that both surname and first name as well as prison number were checked before Maclellan was taken from his cell.

He added that the not guilty plea to the second charge was acceptable.

The hearing to determine the issue will be held on December 17 and Maclellan was remanded in custody until then.