• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Cleared east Oxford ‘burglar’ tells judge: ‘You’ve got it right, mate’


Jul 31, 2022

An alleged burglar told the judge ‘you’ve got it right, mate’ as an accusation that he broke into an east Oxford home was thrown out.

Jason Bourton, 42, was accused by prosecutors of having burgled the property in East Avenue on March 15, getting away with a laptop and phone.

But his lawyers successfully got the charge dismissed on Tuesday on the grounds there was insufficient evidence to safely convict him.

The Crown relied on the presence of Bourton’s DNA on a crack pipe left behind at the scene of the break-in to support the prosecution.

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They later conceded that Bourton’s was one of three DNA profiles on the smoking accessory – used to heat up rocks of crack cocaine and inhale the smoke.

However, they said that the defendant’s previous convictions – which included 12 offences of burglary, including one in which he was identified from DNA on a vape left at the scene – lent support to their contention that Bourton was involved in the East Avenue burglary.

“Whilst the Crown are aware the bad character cannot be used to bolster a weak case, [it is] submitted the DNA evidence means it is not a weak case. There is DNA evidence linking the defendant to the burglary,” Honor Fitzgerald told Recorder Anthony Cartin at Oxford Crown Court on Tuesday.

Oxford Mail: The break-in took place in East Avenue, east Oxford Picture: GOOGLEThe break-in took place in East Avenue, east Oxford Picture: GOOGLE

Lyall Thompson, for Bourton, asked the judge to dismiss the case on the grounds there was insufficient evidence on which the jury could fairly convict or acquit his client.

The barrister said: “All he can say is ‘I must have used it but I’ve used dozens of crack pipes’.

“It is worth considering how an innocent person could defend himself.

“All he can say is ‘I know nothing about this, I do smoke crack cocaine and I have used crack pipes’.”

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Recorder Cartin found in favour of Bourton, deciding that there was insufficient evidence for the charge to be safely left to a jury, and dismissed the burglary charge.

He rejected suggestions that because Bourton’s was the major DNA ‘profile’ found on the pipe it meant he was necessarily the last to use it.

An ‘equally sound conclusion could be this defendant generates more saliva than others who have used the same pipe’, the judge observed.

Thanking the judge from the dock, Bourton, who was wearing a black-and-white striped t-shirt, said: “You’ve actually got it right, mate. I didn’t actually do this.”

He added that he ‘hadn’t even known about’ another burglary for which he was convicted by a jury in 2019.

Bourton had been linked to that burglary, in which he allegedly stole Christmas presents from the Rose Hill flat, by DNA on a vape left at the scene.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward