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.

My Photo
Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Reality Check

When we order pre-sentence reports, required before we impose community sentences or custody, we often have to adjourn the case to allow probation to produce the report. Where drug or psychiatric assessments are required we must adjourn for three weeks to allow the report to be prepared. Up to a third of offenders fail to turn up for the interview, and we saw a couple of them this week.

In the interests of justice we often have (reluctantly) to adjourn for another try, but in each case I accompany the pronouncement with a bit of patter along the lines of:-

"We will have this report, one way or another. We have the power to remand you in custody if that is the only way to get you to an interview. We will send you to prison and the probation officer can visit you there. This next appointment will be the last one on bail. Do you understand?"

This has a dramatic effect in penetrating the often-befuddled brain of the defendant, and to be honest, I have never yet had to carry out my threat.