Judge orders TV presenter into dock during hearing
TV presenter Anna Ryder Richardson was ordered into the dock by a judge who insisted he was not picking on her.
The celebrity interior designer and her husband Colin MacDougall, 46, attended Swansea Crown Court for a brief pre-trial review last week — where they were warned they could face jail if found guilty of health and safety breaches at their wildlife park.
The couple stand trial at the same courthouse on November 12, each accused of two separate breaches of health and safety legislation, all of which they deny.
Ryder Richardson, 48, turned her back on TV when she bought Manor House Wildlife Park in St Florence, near Tenby.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
An accident at the attraction in August 2010 saw teacher Emma Davies-Hughes and her three-year-old son Gruff, from Llanelli, airlifted to hospital.
The company which Ryder Richardson and MacDougall run, Manor House Wildlife Park Ltd, has also denied committing two breaches to health and safety legislation.
The couple attended their hearing on Friday sitting behind their barrister on traditional leather benches at the city's Guildhall courthouse.
Ben Compton, for Ryder Richardson, then asked judge Paul Thomas if they could stay put, and not sit in the dock, during the hearing.
But he quickly learned that the judge had no intention of making an exception for his clients.
He asked whether either one could be jailed if eventually found guilty, and was told that it was possible.
"My policy is that if there is a custodial element then the defendants must sit in the dock," the judge said.
He added: "I would like to make it clear that I am in no way being unfair to them."
The couple then stood and walked round into the dock and sat for the duration of the hearing in its raised wooden platform. The hearing went on to confirm that the November trial would be listed for three weeks. They were then released on unconditional bail until their trial date.
Before they left court the judge explained: "The reason I asked you to go into the dock is that you should not be treated differently from any other person.
"I am not picking on you."