Free Marcus Potter - Autism is not a criminal offence
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Marcus Potter is currently remanded in Norwich HMP. Marcus is 20 year old vulnerable man who was diagnosed with Autism at 3 years of age. Marcus has also been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, Coeliac, Asthma, Anxiety and Depression.
Marcus regularly films police officers on his mobile phone and they find him a nuisance. His fascination has unfortunately left him on the wrong side of the law. A Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) bans Marcus from approaching and recording police officers. Marcus breached the order and his bail conditions prevented him from entering Norwich city centre apart from to sign on at the Jobcentre. The police say this was necessary to protect public safety and security. Marcus breached his bail, was arrested and has now spent nearly 2 months in prison.
On 16 November 2017, Marcus travelled a total of 11 miles from his home address in Wymondham to Norwich by public transport. Marcus arrived 30 minutes early for his appointment having previously been sanctioned for arriving 3 minutes late. Marcus gave Bethel Street Police Station a V gesture. Marcus was arrested at his home address the following morning whilst his family were at work and his family were not informed of his arrest. Marcus has been detained at Norwich HMP since.
Marcus will be remanded in custody until the next hearing on 19 January 2018 because the police were worried he would commit further offences whilst on bail. Marcus is an extremely vulnerable young man and his condition means he can be socially naive and fail to understand the implications of his behaviour. Marcus has been let down by various professional bodies and has received punishment where he should have received support.
We believe that although these obsessions are challenging there is more our criminal justice system could do to support those with Autism. We should provide training on Autism to ensure that traits are recognised and people diagnosed with Autism are treated with compassion and understanding.
Marcus’ friends describe him as a peaceful, polite and kind young man. Please sign the petition to show your support to Marcus and his family during this difficult time. There is something seriously wrong with our justice system if someone is remanded in custody instead of being offered the appropriate support.
How can YOU support us?
· Talk about Marcus and his case
· Retweet @AnaP13787963 @RichardMylan and @emmatrevett
· Use #FreeMarcus on social media
· Write to Marcus’ MP George Freeman - 8 Damgate St, Wymondham, Norfolk, NR18 0BQ or call him on 01953 600617
· Become part of our campaign and help get Marcus out of prison!
'Our first sight of Marcus on Saturday was worrying. He lost a bit of weight and looks very pale. It got less painful once he started to talk and make us smile with his nuances. Marcus is taking it in his stride, but he says it is far too noisy, to the point that he can't read a book because he can't concentrate.
He is very pleased to know that so many people are on his side, that he is not alone any longer. It is not Marcus against the system solo any longer. He now knows it is thousands with his army.'
Ana & Martin Potter
· BBC Look East News Report
· MSN News Report
· The Canary Report
· Eastern Daily Press Report
· Evening Standard Report
· Autism Anglia Response
· National Police Autism Association
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