The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

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Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Drunk Young Man Gets Away With It

The BBC reports on the authorities' shameful failure to prosecute and to punish the posh drunken yob who accused a policeman of having a gay horse.........It's no good, I can't keep this up.

This case is as devoid of commonsense as a case can be. The serious point is that the drunken graduand was given what the police call a 'whizzer' - an £80 fixed penalty disorder ticket. He had the backbone to insist upon fighting the issue in court before magistrates. The CPS have, by that insistence, been forced to confront the ludicrous triviality of the case, and have at last had the sense to drop it. The traditional phrase, used by magistrates and lawyers alike, is "It's a load of crap".

The lesson behind this nonsense is that when police officers, who have a necessarily monochrome mindset and approach (and oh no, that is not a criticism, I assure you) are empowered to dish out fixed penalties, the pressure of the moment may lead them into a hasty decision. They have my genuine sympathy. A court can look at all of the circumstances in its own time, and reach a balanced decision. A copper who is cold tired wet and fed up may not enjoy the luxury of doing so.

Government thinking is solidly in favour of more summary powers for everyone from the PC on the beat to Council functionaries, to the dog catcher. If you want a fair hearing, go to a court. That doesn't mean that you will always like the decision, but the people making it are impartial, and are doing their best to be fair.

report Here