An Andover man has had his sentencing adjourned after failing to provide legal aid documents to his solicitors – despite being just a minute from the court.

Norman Stringer was due to be sentenced on three drugs charges at Winchester Crown Court today (Thursday, March 11). However, because he had not provided payslips to his solicitors so they could apply for legal aid on his behalf, they did not show up in court.

Addressing the 51-year-old, who had brought the payslips to the hearing, Judge Jane Miller said: “What good is that to me here?”

She added: “You should have taken them to the solicitors. They are literally just down the road.”

Stringer had previously appeared at Basingstoke Crown Court on February 9, where he indicated pleas of guilty to the charges of possession of cannabis with intent to supply on May 1 2020, and two charges of being concerned in the production of the class B drug between June 17 2019 and May 2020. He was placed on unconditional bail by the court.

When he appeared at Winchester Crown Court, there was initially some confusion over the lack of a defence solicitor. However, when law firm Penfold and McPherson was contacted by the clerk, it became apparent that Stringer had not provided them with the documents needed to apply for legal aid.

According to government guidelines, applying for legal aid in criminal cases requires information about an individual’s income and outgoings, as well as their capital and equity. They must also pass a merit test.

Penfold and McPherson said that Stringer had been asked to provide them with payslips, but he said that he had brought them with him to the court itself to give to his solicitor, Edward Stott.

When Judge Miller was brought into court, she told Stringer: “What good is that to me here?”

She said that he needed to get legal aid and representation by providing the payslips to his solicitors, as “it wouldn’t be fair to ask you to represent yourself.” She also noted he had not seen the pre-sentence report prepared on his behalf.

Judge Miller said: “You should have taken them to the solicitors. They are literally just down the road.”

The offices of Penfold and McPherson are located one minute’s walk away from the crown court.

Warning Stringer that he would “likely” face a prison sentence, she said: “I hope you realise that you face a prison sentence. Last time you were sentenced to two years imprisonment and you are likely to face it again.”

Following these remarks, Judge Miller added a condition of residence to Stringer’s bail, requiring him to live at his Rack Close address until his sentencing. She adjourned this for three weeks, with Stringer to appear again at Winchester Crown Court on April 1.