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.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Cost of Cockups

A House of Commons committee has had a look at money wasted in courts (see Telegraph article) and has said things about the performance of the police and the CPS that most magistrates would echo. I have been saying for years that what the CPS needed was not so much more lawyers as a few decent clerical staff who could check that files were complete and in the right place, and do such simple things as telephoning or emailing witnesses a few days before the trial to remind them that they are required. Time and again we have suffered missing police and civilian witnesses, because nobody had warned them properly. The court's only power is to refuse to adjourn, forcing the Crown to offer no evidence. That isn't justice either, but it's an adversarial system that we are operating, and the rule is put up or shut up.