From The Telegraph
A Crown Court judge has complained after he was left waiting for a violent paedophile to finish praying. How times have changed.
Ronald Ali was ordered to appear for sentencing at 2pm, but the court was kept waiting after the went to attend a prison wide Islamic prayer at HMP Highdown instead.
Judge Peter Moss commented: "I'm sat here twiddling my thumbs. It is not a very happy situation."
29-year-old Ali was jailed after going on a crime spree shortly after arriving in the UK with his fiance, a British woman who had met the defendant while on holiday in his native Trinidad & Tobago, Guildford Crown Court heard.
Two weeks before his wedding day and while on a temporary visa in the UK, Ali had followed a 15-year-old girl who was in her uniform while on the way to school on September 9 last year and made sexual remarks, prosecutors said.
While the court waited for Ali to finish praying, Judge Moss asked the prison: "As Highdown was fully aware of the hearing at 2pm and the pre-conference at quarter to 2pm, why could Mr Ali's prayer not have been scheduled so he was available for the hearing?"
A guard at HMP Highdown, via video link, said: "The Muslim prayers are prison-wide, not individual. In addition, I would never have known he attended Muslim prayers, so when we went to collect him, obviously we then found out."
Judge Moss was kept waiting for over 20 minutes until defending lawyer Ed Butler arrived in court and apologised for his client's lateness.
Ali denied two counts of common assault and one of sending abusive or menacing messages but was convicted and jailed for 13 months.
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