When appearing in the dock, criminals are given the opportunity to put their side across to the court. For many, this gives them the chance to hold their hands up, apologise and move on.
If only this was always the case. Some defendants go to extreme lengths to justify their behaviour, giving bizarre and ludicrous reasons for breaking the law.
The Manchester Evening News has looked back over some of the most absurd excuses given to judges.
Mum Michelle McMullan was banned from driving after she was caught at the wheel with cocaine in her system. She was seen to swerve in the road.
She told the police she swerved because her dog had been sick in the back.
McMullan, 46, from Didsbury , south Manchester, was pulled over in her Mercedes in Cheshire last year. She was drug tested as there was a "strong smell" of cannabis coming from the car.
She was later found to have cocaine and one of its by-products in her system.
During her sentencing at Stockport Magistrates Court , her solicitor admitted she had been taking the Class A drug "on and off" for several years and had an "ongoing issue with it."
In August, Stockport JPs ordered the mum-of-two to get help for her "problem" as they fined her and disqualified her from driving for almost two years.
McMullan, of Stretton Avenue, Didsbury, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two counts of driving a motor vehicle with a proportion of a specified controlled drug above the specified limit, one relating to the cocaine and the other to one of its by-products Benzoylecgonine.
She was handed a 12-month community order and ordered to complete 15 rehabilitation activity requirement (RAR) days. She was also fined 120 and ordered to pay a 95 victim surcharge.
Lewis Brown had travelled to Salford City to watch his home team, Mansfield Town, play in their end of season fixture.
The game was being broadcast on TV in front of thousands of fans. As the final whistle blew, Brown, 20, climbed the four foot fence and charged onto the pitch in the direction of opposing fans.
He was chased by a few stewards before being tackled to the ground and escorted away, Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard.
Brown was arrested and admitted to running onto the pitch, telling officers it was ‘because the game was live on Sky TV’. He was said to be ‘slurring his words’, his eyes were glazed and he smelt of alcohol.
In August, he pleaded guilty to going onto a playing area at a football match and being drunk in a sports ground.
Brown, of Mount Street, was handed a £240 fine, £85 prosecution costs and £34 victim surcharge. He was also made the subject of a football banning order for three years.
Uni student King Tam was caught rifling through his housemates drawers after sneaking into their bedrooms.
The women had earlier noticed their bras were going missing. It later came to light that Tam, 19, had been stealing their bras and masturbating over them.
The victims confronted Tam after one of them spotted him entering the other's room uninvited. Upon checking their bras, they found semen stains on them.
At Minshull Street Crown Court in August, Tam was handed a suspended prison sentence after a judge heard it was because he felt 'lonely' and 'isolated' at the time and had since returned home to Hong Kong.
Tam, formerly of Maple Court, Moseley Road, Fallowfield pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and was handed a six-month prison sentence, suspended for one year. He was also made the subject of a prohibited activity order, which prevents him from visiting any hall of residence linked to the University of Manchester.
GMP special constable Andrew Parkinson grabbed a seven-year-old round the neck and shoulders after being 'accidentally' sprayed during a water fight .
He picked the boy up and carried him to his parents' house where his dad opened the front door to find him 'terrified and white as a sheet'.
Parkinson, 55, claimed he was acting in ‘self defence’. He was walking through a Bolton street when he got accidentally sprayed with water during a water fight, and immediately became angry.
He got ‘face to face’ with the boy and told him off. The boy then tripped and fell towards Parkinson, his forehead making contact with him.
Parkinson then picked up the boy and marched him to his dad's, Liverpool Magistrates Court heard.
He denied assault but was convicted after a trial in June. Parkinson, now of Willows Lane, Bolton, was ordered to pay prosecution costs and £250 compensation to the boy’s family. He must also carry out unpaid work and 25 rehabilitation days with the probation service.
A restraining order prevents him from contacting the boy or his parents.
Omid Abas was working as a car wash worker when a customer dropped off a classic Mercedes. Described as a ‘cherished and prized possession’ by its owner, the rare and pristine 1992 550E Merc was one of only 29 in the UK.
However, when 41-year-old Abbas was assigned to give the car a £30 ‘super valet’. He instead took it for a 90-minute spin from the car wash in Runcorn to his home in Stockport - and back again.
But, in the final five miles he crashed the car and it was written off. He later told police that he had swerved to ‘avoid a mouse’ in the road.
Police inquiries later revealed that Abas had not passed a UK driving test.
At Warrington Magistrates' court in June, Abas pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking and driving without a licence or insurance, and was banned from driving for 12 months.
Abas, of Colborne Avenue, Reddish, was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for a year, Abas was ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £213 in costs and a victim surcharge. No order for compensation was made.
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