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.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Another Busy Week

This week,a committee meeting, a sitting at the Crown Court hearing appeals with a judge and another magistrate, and a busy remand day back at my own court.

Unusually the appeals took the whole day. Judges and Counsel don't much like sitting after 4 p.m., but we had to crack on and finish a case because there was no further court time available before July, and that is too long a break for a part-heard case. Lunch in the Judges' Dining Room is always enjoyable and the atmosphere is nothing like the public image of a lot of pompous old stuffed shirts. We even got a glass of wine, as one of the judges was moving on to sit in a different court. We dismissed all of the appeals that we heard. For many judges it is twenty years or more since they last dealt with magistrates-court type of offences so the presence of magistrates adds the necessary level of experience. Decisions are by majority vote, but the judge's ruling as to law is final, which seems fair enough.

We dealt with 52 cases the next day, including bail and custody remands, simple sentencing, and three more serious cases with pre-sentence reports to read. We committed several serious cases to the Crown Court, and we issued arrest warrants for those who had failed to turn up or who had breached community orders. As usual we had to deal robustly with lawyers who wanted adjournments; we refused nearly all of them and sent them outside to sort their clients out and come back in so that the case can move forward. Lawyers tend to focus their minds more sharply when they know that they have to satisfy the court's directions before they can get away to their office. We finished at a quarter past four, and I wished everyone a happy Easter and went to the pub. Hard work, but satisfying.