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 team, who may or may not be JPs, but all of whom are interested in the Magistrates' Courts.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Notes From The Bench

I did a day of odds-and-ends this week, since the trial on which I was scheduled to sit turned into a guilty plea at the last minute, leaving us free to help other courts. We saw a small builder who had been a bit over-enthusiastic in loading his van; its plated weight is 3.5 tons, and he had overloaded it by a further ton-and-a-half. He finished up with fines and costs plus points on his licence. He had also been banned from proceeding at the roadside until the excess was offloaded and had all the bother of getting someone to make a 200-mile round trip to pick it up. Another fellow turned up so drunk that his lawyer could get no sense out of him, so we were obliged to put the case off. I gave the lawyer a stern warning, to be passed on to his client when he is next sober, that if the only way we could get him into court in a fit state to be dealt with was by way of a remand in custody, that's what we would do. We saw a man who had been disturbed in the act of trying to steal something, and who took off like a hare. Unluckily for him the police had a dog with them, and it tracked him to the garden in which he was hiding. Unwisely, he kicked the dog, at which it sank its teeth into his leg and held on until the handler arrived. We granted a number of warrants to Immigration to search for Zimbabwean nationals whose protection from deportation was removed by a higher court this week, and for some more of the convicted criminals who should have been deported but were not, a fact that cost Charles Clarke his job. We authorised police to hold on to various sums of money seized from suspects under the Proceeds of Crime Act, which we usually do for three months in the first instance. Someone referred to a case involving counterfeit Viagra, and, the court being empty of members of the public, I asked the clerk if the defendant faced a stiff sentence, at which the lady prosecutor suffered a momentary loss of composure.
We finished the day with a couple of Pre-Sentence Reports cases, both of which were messy to deal with. One had a drug problem, one was an alcoholic with mental health issues, and in neither case could we sentence in the way we would have liked. Off to the pub at 5.30.