Entertainment behind the scenes
Winehouse husband sentence confusion
About 30 reporters and TV presenters packed into an east London courtroom earlier this week to hear the sentencing of Amy Winehouse’s husband for attacking a pub landlord and then trying to cover up the crime.
Blake Fielder-Civil pleaded guilty to both charges, so the story was whether he would be handed a jail term or let off with a warning. He had already spent about nine months behind bars awaiting the judge’s decision.
So when judge David Radford began reading his ruling, we all strained to hear the decision. Trouble was, no one really understood it. One colleague of mine back in the office said a leading British broadcaster rushed out the news that Fielder-Civil had been handed a suspended sentence and so would be free to go. Judging by the happy hug Fielder-Civil gave to co-defendant Michael Brown at one point, he also got the wrong end of the stick.
In actual fact, the judge gave him 27 months, which was the headline figure most reporters phoned through to their desks. But that was also misleading. Keen to get to the bottom of what this really meant, I spoke to Fielder-Civil’s lawyer who explained that the real amount of time his client had left to serve was actually nearer four and a half months. Apparently you divide the sentence by two (equals 13.5 months) and then subtract the amount of time he has already spent in prison for the crimes (equals 4.5 months).
Anyone reading the first headlines could be forgiven for thinking that the 26-year-old, who married soul star Winehouse last year, would be behind bars well into 2010. In fact, he should be out in time for Christmas 2008.