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, March 27, 2006


A report in today's Times tells us that the BBC paid £23,000 for a Christmas party at an expensive restaurant, the guests being among the best-paid people in the land.

If Terry Wogan or Jeremy Vine or Clive Anderson or Sarah Kennedy can spare the time, I would like them to sit in a courtroom that is dealing with TV licence cases. I would be happy to make the arrangements. About 95% of those who appear are women, and about 95% of those are on State benefit. The BBC dinner reportedly cost £238 per head, which for the average defendant I see represents a couple of weeks' income. Many of them have overwhelming money worries, and through one of society's inbuilt unfairnesses those who are asked to be the best money managers are those with the fewest social and educational resources to do it. And some of their money is being used to buy £200-plus dinners for millionaires.

Buy your own dinners, lads. You know you can afford it. And it might save you from finding a nasty taste in your mouth afterwards.