I often hear that the UK does not mandate AA or NA attendance in their court magistrate system. But is this true or are they using the same loophole that the US court system often uses and mandate "treatment" instead?
In many of the arrest and court reports out of the UK you will notice people trying to use the "AA get out of jail free card." The initiatives of Ian Duncan Smith to put anyone on public assistance who drinks into "treatment" is also heavily in the news. In the US, the court systems often do not "mandate" Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) participation directly, they do it through a secondary agency through probation or parole and to not violate probation or parole they must undergo "treatment" that often uses AA or NA as part of the "treatment" or follow up. Are the crown courts of the UK going down the same slippery slope of mandated AA or NA attendance through a 3rd party?
Case in point is Claire Vickers, of Coppice Close, Farnham who was arrested for driving above the prescribed limit on May 28th of 2012. Claire is a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and had been attending the rituals to Bill Wilson regularly. Following in the path of relapse and recovery that AA practices in its "treatment" Claire got drunk and drove a car, was arrested and assaulted constables while in custody. The Court Magistrate put her on community order and told her to go to "treatment" for 6 months. The question is, will the "treatment" be heavily dependent on participation in Alcoholics Anonymous which obviously failed her before and her attendance tracked by a third party? If this is true, is it not actually "mandating" AA attendance?
Community order for mum who lashed out
By James Watkins
August 15, 2012
A DRUNKEN assault on a police officer led to a Surrey mother being given a community order and having to pay compensation.
Claire Vickers, of Coppice Close, Farnham, kicked a detention officer while in custody after being arrested for drink-driving, South West Surrey Magistrates’ court heard on Friday.
The 37-year-old had to be restrained at Guildford police station for being violent after her arrest on May 28.
Prosecuting, Zeltia Carrera told magistrates: “The defendant became physically violent in the holding area.
“She was restrained by several police officers and after failing to calm down she was taken to a police cell. Whilst being carried she kicked out at the detention officer.”
The court heard that Vickers kicked the officer’s left side, which caused pain and bruising and, as a result, the officer fell against a wall, hitting her arm which caused further bruising.
“The defendant was kept on constant watch due to her demeanour,” Miss Carrera added.
Vickers was brought to the attention of the police after she reversed a hire car registered to a friend of hers into a stationary car parked opposite her house in Coppice Close.
The court heard that Vickers and her friend had been drinking and that her friend had walked home before the incident happened, leaving the car, keys and her mobile phone at Vickers’ home.
“At 11 in the evening, the car was reversed out of the driveway into a stationary parked vehicle opposite, and the defendant is seen by neighbours in the car shortly after the collision,” Miss Carrera told the court.
“The police arrested her for driving over the prescribed limit.”
When defending Vickers, Kate Quincy told magistrates: “She accepts she was arrested and her behaviour was unacceptable.
“She accepts that she was struggling and perhaps being awkward in police custody.
“She did not intend to assault the officer. She is now accepting that her alcohol consumption is not only affecting her, but those around her – her husband and her children.”
Miss Quincy told the court that Vickers had been attending regular Alcoholics Anonymous sessions in Aldershot, Guildford and Farnham, and that she lived at home with three children and her husband.
Magistrate James Barber sentenced Vickers to a 12-month community order, with a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement, and also banned her from driving for six months.
Mr Barber also stated that compensation of £100 was to be awarded to the police officer.