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.

Monday, August 01, 2005


The news is of five (alleged) failed bombers captured, and numbers of other arrests for questioning.

Feelings:- Admiration for the police work involved, and anxiety about what and who else is out there to threaten us.

Tabloid and saloon-bar emotions run high, as fear, relief, and anger coalesce into a confused search for blame - of a group, a race, a religion, a state, or a cave-dwelling millionaire fanatic. Conspiracy theories are abroad, and some people have already floated the idea that what happened is Britain's own fault. Simplistic solutions will be the tabloids' meat and drink for a week or two, or until some further sexual shenanigans draw the papers' attention back to Big Brother.

For those of us who care for the rule of law this is the time to counsel calm and patience, neither of which offer good headline material.

Thus far the police seem to have made an excellent start, but they are faced with mountains of evidence, thousands of witnesses, and unknown numbers of threats to come. They must have time to carry out their biggest-ever investigation free from political and media pressure for quick results. We have seen before, in an Irish context, where that presure can lead. Those found guilty must be convicted by verdicts based on untainted evidence put before a level-headed jury. If those now in custody are charged with offences relating to the recent real and failed bombings no trial is likely to begin much before the end of 2006 or early 2007, if for no other reason than the sheer weight of material to be considered.

For myself, I feel relieved that the investigation is under way with some very promising arrests and potentially excellent forensic and other evidence. I just hope that for the July outrages legislators and citizens will resist any rush to judgement and stand back patiently while the police do their job.