Magistrates this week refused to reopen the case of a Newtown man found guilty of four offences in his absence.

Nathan George Bryce, 22, formerly of Pinewood Court but who is currently serving a prison sentence for unrelated offences, was brought into Welshpool Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Earlier this year, Bryce was due to stand trial for assaulting a 16-year -old girl, stealing her phone and using threatening behaviour against her and a family member.

He denied the offences and a trial date was set for September 18, but this was brought forward at short notice to September 11.

Nathan Bryce outside Welshpool Magistrates' Court before he was imprisoned earlier this year.

On the day, the court was informed by the prison service that Bryce had refused to get onto the van and would therefore not be produced.

His solicitor, Robert Hanratty, attempted to contact the prison to clarify the situation, but was unable to speak to Bryce.

The magistrates decided to proceed with the trial and the charges were proved in his absence.

But this week, Mr Hanratty applied to have the case re-opened to give Bryce the chance to give evidence at his trial.

Bryce told the court he had not refused to get on the van and was waiting in the prison’s admissions area when he was told by a staff member that he would not be attending court.

Giving evidence, Bryce said: “One of the officers came down and said, ‘you are not in court today’. I just thought I would be doing a video link instead. I would not refuse to go to court, I like to get my word across.”

Mr Hanratty said the statements received from the prison about the events that day were “pretty shabby” and criticised the prison service for its lack of communication with the court over the matter.

The magistrates denied the application to reopen the case and sentenced Bryce for the offences.

Nathan Bryce is led back to the prison van after his sentencing on Tuesday.

They gave him four 14-day sentences – one for each charge – to run consecutively, which would not affect his release date in February.

He was ordered to pay £200 compensation to the victim and was placed under a restraining order to prevent him from contacting or approaching her indefinitely. No prosecution costs were awarded.