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, January 26, 2007


There is an application to vacate a trial, due to take place next week. The date was fixed six weeks ago. The principal police witness has broken his leg. I am very sorry for the officer, but since when has a broken leg prevented anyone from speaking in court? We have disabled access, a wheelchair if required, and we can allow the officer to give evidence while seated. I give the prosecutor a hard time, but we are boxed in and we have to vacate the date because it is too late to contact the officer and get him in.
Net result:- three magistrates, a legal adviser, an usher, witness support volunteers, the defendant the victim and the other witnesses are all no longer needed. It's too late to allocate anything else to the vacant slot. An expensive courtroom will stand empty, while other cases are waiting in the queue for trial. It will take weeks or months to rearrange the cancelled trial. Justice is delayed, and the court will probably be blamed. It's unacceptable, and I am very cross.