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.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

More Death On The Roads

I have previously blogged about the complex issues involved in dealing with drivers who cause death on the roads, whether by recklessness or by simple human error or by any of the infinite gradations in between. I dealt with my first case of Causing Death by Careless Driving recently, and our first task was to assess the seriousness and decide whether the matter was suitable for summary trial or whether we should decline jurisdiction and commit it to the Crown Court, where the judge has five years' prison available as opposed to our six months. The guidelines have already been amended, and the notes in our clerk's file ran to quite a few pages, so we popped out for a cup of tea while prosecutor, defence and clerk checked the up to date position so that the bench could be properly advised.
In the event we decided that the offence lay at the lower end of the scale and that magistrates' powers would be sufficient. We had to go through this process even though the young defendant elected jury trial anyway. I have made a diary note to ring up the Crown Court in a couple of months to see how it went.