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Magistrates who took exception to a woman whose mobile phone rang during a court session have fined her £10.

Linda Osbourne, who was sat in the public gallery of Exeter magistrates court waiting for her son to appear, was found in contempt of court after her phone rang and interrupted proceedings. It was the third time that morning that a mobile phone had rung in the courtroom.

Two people who had earlier received calls escaped with black looks from the bench but Linda Osbourne faced the ignominy of a 50-minute hearing which found her guilty of contempt.

Deputy clerk for the Exeter and East Devon magistrates court, Paul Vincent, told The Independent: "There are prominent notices on the court doors about mobile phones before people enter the courtroom.

"We don't take many proceedings for contempt of court. In this case the magistrates heard her explanation and rejected it. Had she admitted the contempt and apologised the court might have taken a different action."

Solicitors acting on behalf of Linda Osbourne said she is considering an appeal on the basis that she did not commit a deliberate act.

It was a bad day all round for the Osbourne family. Her son, Michael, was remanded on bail on charges of possessing an offensive weapon and criminal damage. ®

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