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.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

To be Perfectly Honest.....

"To be perfectly honest" is an eerily common phrase to hear in court. I usually think to myself that if the user knew about the laws of perjury he would realise that it is safer to be honest.

Mr. Singh was in court on a charge of possessing an offensive weapon, namely a heavy dog chain. Nasty if used as a knuckleduster, or swung in anger. The defendant had turned up on the doorstep of his landlord, another Mr. Singh, at just before one in the morning. The latter Mr. Singh prudently declined to answer the door, and called the police, who duly turned up, searched the first Mr. Singh and arrested him.

Defending himself Mr. S. told us that he had a long-standing problem with his property and that while out walking his dog he had happened to pass his landlord's house and thought "My, what luck, this is a good chance to speak to Mr. Singh and to resolve our problems".

In cross-examination he was asked where the dog was, and why he had not mentioned the animal to the police at the scene or in interview later. "He is a good dog, and I let him off the lead to go home by himself, as Mr. Singh probably didn't want a dog in his house" he replied.

He was then asked why he had not mentioned the dog before coming to court. "Ah well, you see, I was frightened of getting into trouble." "Why is that Mr. Singh?"

(Hesitates) "You see, I haven't got a dog licence"

It was hard enough trying to keep a straight face even without the sight of the officer in the case who was sitting at the back of the court attempting to stifle a serious attack of the giggles.

Unsportingly we convicted Mr. Singh. Beyond Reasonable Doubt, you know.