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‘The worst place for you is where you are’ - judge frees autistic man at centre of campaign

PUBLISHED: 12:03 24 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:18 24 January 2018

A screenshot of Marcus Potter filming police in London from the video 'A day with... Marcus Potter'. Photo: Youtube/Happy TV

A screenshot of Marcus Potter filming police in London from the video 'A day with... Marcus Potter'. Photo: Youtube/Happy TV

Youtube/Happy TV

An autistic man who keeps filming police has been released from prison after a care plan was put in place to help him.

Marcus Potter, 20, who was diagnosed with autism aged three, has been in Norwich Prison since November 17 last year for breaching his bail conditions by gesturing at a police station in the city.

That sparked a campaign to get him out of prison, with an online petition gaining more than 10,000 signatures.

Campaigners and his parents argue prison is the wrong place for him and is making his illnesses worse.

Following a hearing at Norwich Crown Court on Wednesday, Judge Stephen Holt released Potter on bail after hearing that a care plan had now been drawn up.

Potter, who appeared in court from prison via a video link, was told by Judge Holt that he should co-operate with people that were trying to help him as it was in everyone’s interests, including that of the public.

The two bail conditions for Potter is that he lives with his parents at their home in Wymondham and co-operates fully with the probation service.

Judge Holt told him: “The worst place for you is where you are at the moment.”

But he warned: “If you carry on doing what you were doing then there is nothing I can do.”

“This is a real chance. It’s up to you to work with the people that are prepared to work with you and not commit any further offences.”

The successful bail application was made by his barrister Jonathan Goodman, who told the court there was now a care plan drawn up with specialist mental health support.

Potter is due back at Norwich Crown Court for a further hearing on February 16.

He is currently subject to a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) given by magistrates after he was convicted of causing alarm and distress when he filmed police and members of the public in February 2017.

The order stops him from approaching police officers, unless in danger or reporting a crime, and stops him filming officers or police buildings and vehicles.

A police spokesman has said the CBO was made to ensure Mr Potter does not present a danger to himself or the general public through his actions.

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