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case study laughing gas does not escape

 In the year 1975 there is a new Court House at St. Albans with Air-conditioned. The Crown Court was sitting in the Court House for the trial of a case related to pornographic films & books. Stephen Balogh, a clerk employed by Solicitor for defence. The case dragged on & on as a result Stephen Balogh got exceedingly bored. Mr. Balogh devised a plan to release nitrous oxide (N2O) that gives an exhilarating effect when inhaled. N2O is also known as “laughing gas”. He steal half cylinder of N2O from the Hospital car parking. His plan is to put the cylinder at the inlet to the ventilating system & release the gas in the court that provide relief from the monotonous court proceeding. 

While he was going up in the roof to put the cylinder in the ventilating system an officer witnessed him. Next morning officer cautiously monitoring Mr. Balogh & waiting for the right opportunity known what he is up to. Mr. Balogh bring a briefcase with him containing a cylinder of laughing gas or N2O. officer carefully examined it & found out that Mr. Balogh is trying to interrupt the court proceeding. Mr. Balogh charged for stealing a bottle of Nitrous Oxide from the Hospital. The matter was reported to a judge presiding in the court room 1 where Mr. Balogh accidently planting the Nitrous Oxide instead of the next door court room. The court sentenced Mr. Balogh 6 months of imprisonment for the offence of contempt of court.

Mr. Balogh appeal to the court and admitted that his behavour has been contemptible & he is asked to apologize before the bench in a hope that court show mercy on him by acquitting him. The power given to a judge under contempt in the face of court is a necessary power to maintain the dignity & authority of the court & ensure fair trial. It is to be exercised by the judge of his own motion only when it is urgent & imperative to act immediately in order to maintain the authority of the court, to prevent disorder, to enable witnesses to be free from fear, to prevent jurors from being improperly influenced & other acts that hamper court proceeding. 

The case before hand, Mr. Balogh was undoubtedly guilty of stealing the cylinder gas from the hospital. As far as contempt of court is concerned, there is no proceeding were disturbed, no trial was upset, no gas were released or in case gas were released it was diluted by air that the effect of N2O were unnoticeable. Mr. Balogh has criminal intent to disrupt the court proceeding but that is not enough as there is absence of criminal act. Balogh spend 14 days in prison & he has now apologized before the court which is sufficient to purge in contempt, in case of contempt was done in due course of Court proceeding. 

  


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