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.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Done Up

A family lived in a prosperous part of our patch, in a big comfy between-the-wars semi. Father an accountant, mother a teacher, two teenage daughters. Next door, separated by a tall hedge, was a similar house, lived in by a family with three burly sons aged from about 18 to 22. These lads were car-mad and had filled the drive of the house with cars that they were, as they say round our way, 'doing up'. For much of the weekend there would be banging, the scream of power tools, and the smell of paint being sprayed. In addition there was always a radio going full blast with the thump-thump of that bass-heavy music that appeals to the young and infuriates the mature.
There had been many requests for the young men to turn down the noise, requests that had been ignored at best and greeted with foul mouthed abuse at worst. One summer Sunday the accountant, whose wife was ill in bed, stormed next door demanding that the noise stop. He was roundly told to fuck off, and threatened with unspecified violence if he did not. He went back to his house and took a baseball bat from the hall cupboard, and returned to the neighbouring driveway, where he proceeded to smash the headlamps and some of the windows of the cars he found there. The three young men emerged, and advanced upon their neighbour, whereupon he set about them with the bat. One received a four-inch laceration to his scalp, his brother got a broken finger, and the third one beat a hasty retreat and called the police.
So in a few mad moments the victim had become the aggressor. Worse, he had gone to get a weapon with which to commit Criminal Damage and ABH. It was the considered decision to go back indoors and arm himself that persuaded us to commit him to the Crown Court. I didn't find out what he got (we rarely do) but I was reminded again that an ordinary person can very quickly get himself into a whole heap of trouble if he lets his self control snap. Of course I felt sorry for him, we all did, but based on what he had done, off he went to the Judge.