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, September 01, 2006

It's Him Again

I have blogged before about a couple of local families who ensure that the court is rarely short of business. Quite apart from their low-level feuding that results in a lot of sound and fury but rarely signifies anything, they seem to specialise in low level pain-in-the-arse sorts of offending:- the usual motoring offences always include driving without insurance, because even if they could be bothered to get it and be willing to pay for it, and go to the trouble of getting a driving licence, they would be turned down by any underwriter who wished to keep his job. Because they are never insured they are frequently disqualified, and they routinely disregard the court's orders and carry on driving anyway. Any local copper will recognise them, and arrest and prison usually follow. Of Irish descent, most of the men are named after Popes or saints, and for the more serious cases an aunt or granny will turn up to watch their lad go down. Indeed on one occasion when my wife was in the gallery she noted that granny was telling her rosary every time that I spoke. That day we gave a community penalty to one of the 19-year-old up-and-comers from the tribe, so perhaps the rosary worked.

Today in a quiet moment a clerk came and asked us to decide whether to 'lodge' some fines. This is the process whereby serving prisoners who have outstanding fines can be given a certain number of extra days to wipe out the fines. These can be concurrent or consecutive to the main sentence according to the circumstances. On the top file I noticed the name of John Patrick McCarthy, and I said to the clerk "What's he in for this time?". She checked the file and it turned out that on top of his usual raft of driving offences he had got himself done for Dangerous Driving and been sent to the Crown Court for sentence, where the judge potted him for eighteen months. We added another 21 days to clear the fines, consecutive in this case because the fines were for the same type of offence.

He'll be back, sure as the Pope's a Catholic.