That Time An Inmate Tried To Sue The Prison System Over A Broken Dreamcast

A while back we looked at the veritable treasure trove of Dreamcast-related stories that the BBC News archive represents. There are a multitude of contemporary news articles on the birth and death of the Dreamcast, locked in time in the BBC's extensive catalogue of long forgotten reports, and they do make for interesting reading.

There's one particular news piece I missed though, and it serves as an interesting glimpse not only into the past, but also into the life of convicts held at Her Majesty's pleasure in UK prisons. Hidden away on the BBC News site is this rather intriguing report from April 2006, which documents the efforts of a prisoner at Scotland's Perth Prison to claim damages of £350 from the Scottish Executive (the authority responsible for prisons) for damage to his Dreamcast console.

The case was eventually thrown out by Perth Sheriff Court, but not before the complainant accused prison officers of purposely breaking his Dreamcast. The article doesn't say how the console was broken (and the Scottish Courts website has no record of the hearing), but I'm going to guess that to make it totally inoperable they probably used it as a football. If it'd been a Gamecube, they could've driven a monster truck over it and it would still have worked; but then, a Gamecube can also double up as a deadly weapon when swung at another human so probably not the best console to allow into a prison. Anyway, here's the full article:

BBC News, Friday 21st April 2006

Inmate drops Sega console action
A prisoner has failed in a bid to sue ministers over a faulty computer games console given to him in jail. Adam Shannon claimed compensation from prison chiefs because his Sega Dreamcast console was broken.

Shannon, serving more than five years in Perth Prison for attacking his own friend, also wanted cash for the 15 games he wanted to play in his cell. Perth Sheriff Court heard on Friday that he decided not to pursue the claim, which was then dismissed.

Shannon, 24, lodged the small claims action at the court, demanding the Scottish Executive pay him £350. He claimed the console was damaged beyond repair because of the "negligent action of the prison officers".
Damage denial
Shannon, from Dundee, said his wife Brenda, 39, brought the console and 15 games into the maximum security prison for him shortly after he was jailed in 2004.

It was claimed she had checked the equipment was working before bringing it in on 2 July, but that nine days later when Shannon received it within the prison, it was not. Scottish ministers, as head of the Scottish Prison Service, admitted the console and games were brought into the jail but denied causing any damage.

Shannon is serving five years and three months after a jury found him guilty of attacking his friend Colin Grieve, 23. He left Mr Grieve scarred for life by stabbing him several times and hitting his head and body with a metal bar.

I was going to end this by saying it would be interesting to try to find the gentleman at the heart of this story and ask him what happened to the Dreamcast in question, but a quick Google of his name made me hastily abandon that idea. Thanks go to Dreamcast Junkyard Facebook group member David Mackenzie for alerting me to this story.

2 comments:

hoogafanter said...

Dreamcast is Gangsta!

Florian Wallin said...

Haha entertaining reading :)