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, July 08, 2005

A Slightly Odd Day

It was an unusual day yesterday. I spent all day sitting in court while dreadful events were taking place a dozen miles to the east of us. Being in a courtroom is rather like being sealed off from the outside world, and we had to get by on snippets of information from the ushers. We heard that the local Tube station was closed, and then the High Street was cordoned off. Some mobile phones had a signal, and some did not, but we had no idea whether that was official action or simple network overload.

We started our list at 10 a.m. as usual, at which time the situation in central London was still unfolding. Three of our early cases involved people from east and south-east London and it was clear that they would face a gruelling journey home. A few barristers could not get to court, but hasty calls to local firms of solicitors ensured that their clients were represented. We sat on into the lunch break to deal with custody cases, so that the contractors could get the prison vans away as early as possible, given the inevitable traffic chaos, and the fact that we commit to prisons in central London.

One of my colleagues was sitting for the last time before her retirement after 18 years on the bench, so she certainly had a last day to remember.

Back in January I wrote about young Billy Nutt who decamped from the courtroom shortly after I had sentenced him to five months in prison. He was eventually recaptured and given some more time for his escape. Yesterday he was back in again for some petty offence or other. When he stepped into the dock our eyes met, and he gave me a very wary look indeed. We bailed him to get legal advice, so on this occasion he walked out of the main door, rather than leaping through the glass as he did on the last occasion.

It was a busy day, but one thing that sticks in my mind is seeing yet another case of cannabis-induced psychosis. It is quite common now for consultant psychiatrists to refuse to treat patients further when, having been stabilised in hospital, the patient scurries off to his dealer as soon as he is discharged, and smokes himself back over the edge. This chap tossed in some alcohol and cocaine as well, just to ensure that his brains were well and truly scrambled. He has a tendency to become violent so when we sent him to prison we tipped off security who sent a small posse to ensure that he went safely down to the cells. He called me a c*nt on the way to the stairs, but I’ve been called worse.