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.

My Photo
Location: Near London, United Kingdom

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

Saturday, May 06, 2006


We worked our socks off during this week's sitting. We dealt with a fascinating mix of remands, bail applications, sentences, committals, the lot. One particularly juicy case is sadly not bloggable, so I shall have to save it for my memoirs. It was a late sitting as the police kept on bringing in new custody cases. I asked the usher how we were doing at about a quarter past three, and she told me that we still had eight downstairs in the cells. We couldn't get help from another bench, because there weren't enough security staff to work two courtrooms.

One man came in from overnight custody, and his solicitor went through the motions of applying for bail. His client's previous was handed up and we saw that the 32 year-old had 140 previous convictions, 97 of them for burglary. The only gap in his offending record was during the two and a half years he had spent in prison. To quote the Bail Act, we had 'substantial' grounds to fear that he would commit further offences, so as I type he is sitting in a cell somewhere.

A member of one of our troublesome local families came in and pleaded guilty to refusing a breath specimen at the police station. He claimed to be earning £150 per week as a gardener, but as my colleague had just paid £50 to have her hedge trimmed we took that with a pinch of salt. He didn't blink when we fined him £300 and £75 costs, but when I told him that he was disqualified for two years he tried to argue the toss. That is a complete no-no and I cut him off very firmly, at which he said that he would appeal. "You have 21 days to lodge an appeal if you wish" I said. "The office will give you a form". "I'll do it now" he said, and left with ill grace.

He left without picking up a form.