Free Marcus Potter - Autism is not a criminal offence

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UPDATE - Arrest of Marcus on 19 October 2018

Unfortunately, Marcus was arrested on Friday 19 October 2018 for breaching his bail conditions. Marcus was seen walking within 100m of a police station. He will stay in prison until his next court hearing on 19 November 2018. His legal team are hoping to make an urgent bail application next week but currently Marcus will be spending at least the next month in prison. Prison is no place for Marcus and the environment was extremely distressing for him last time. 

Marcus has been arrested numerous times during the last 9 months since he was last released from prison. His family believe that the arrests are not justified. Marcus was often in the wrong place or misunderstood and tried to push boundaries. Marcus is a very intelligent man who requires support to thrive. Marcus had limited support during this time from a probation officer and mental health nurse. 

The family were very touched by your support previously and would be grateful if you could share this petition to raise awareness of this case. I will keep you updated but if you would like to get in touch with the family please contact me directly.

Emma Trevett

Email - emmatrevett@hotmail.co.uk

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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

News Coverage:

 ·       BBC Look East News Report

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0z5R27ldBLQ&feature=youtu.be

·        MSN News Report

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/autistic-man-held-in-custody-for-weeks-after-sticking-two-fingers-up-at-the-police/ar-BBHTOgX

·       The Canary Report

https://www.thecanary.co/uk/2018/01/08/autistic-man-jail-seven-weeks-swearing-police-station/

·       Eastern Daily Press Report

http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/crime/marcus-potter-autistic-man-campaign-to-get-out-of-norwich-prison-1-5343125

·       Evening Standard Report

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/autistic-man-held-in-custody-for-weeks-after-sticking-two-fingers-up-at-the-police-a3732476.html

Official Responses:

·       Autism Anglia Response

https://www.facebook.com/AutismAnglia/posts/1796733247003861

·       National Police Autism Association

http://www.npaa.org.uk/press-release-statement-marcus-potter-norfolk-constabulary/?doing_wp_cron=1515438723.5730481147766113281250



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