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.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Violence - Quiz

I have had another look at my new Bench Book, and following my earlier quiz on theft-type offences, here is another on violence.

A few points first. All guidelines are for a first time offender pleading not guilty (so no discount on sentence). Aggravating and mitigating circumstances are looked at before passing sentence, but see if you can work out the starting point.

Available sentences are:-

A) Conditional Discharge or Fine
B) Community Sentence
C) Custody
D) Commit to Crown Court for sentence

Looking at the common violent offences, what is the starting point for:

1) Affray
2) Assault - Actual Bodily Harm
3) Assault Police Officer
4) Common Assault
5) Disorderly Behaviour ('Section 5')
6) Disorderly Behaviour With Intent to Cause Harassment Alarm or Distress ('Section 4A')
7) Drunk and Disorderly
8) Harassment (conduct causing fear of violence)
9) Harassment
10) Possession of a Bladed Instrument /Offensive Weapon (separate offence, but similar penalties)
11) Threatening Behaviour ('section 4')
12) Violent Disorder
13) Wounding - GBH ('section 20')

Available sentences are
A) Fine or Discharge
B) Community Penalty
C) Custody
D) Commit to Crown Court (as magistrates' powers insufficient)

Community Penalties now cover a broad spectrum, based on a pick'n'mix approach, so that we may combine unpaid work with a treatment or other programme.

Don't forget that these are starting points - courts commonly go up or down the tariff depending on the circumstances.