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, April 06, 2007

A Sad State of Affairs

Last weekend I was sitting at my keyboard, a glass of refreshing antipodean Shiraz to hand, when it occurred to me that my sophisticated international readership might be amused by something in the nature of an April Fool's prank. What, I mused, might serve to deceive such educated and worldly-wise folk, and then to provide a little amusement as my ploy revealed itself?
Depressingly, I realised that after ten years of remorseless government tinkering with the criminal justice system so much that is absurd confronts us every day that we would be unlikely to spot a joke if we saw one. Loudspeakers on lampposts to rebuke the citzenry for some real or potential misbehaviour, while tens of thousands of trained police officers skulk ineffectively behind the secure walls of the police station, preparing for their latest community outreach conference or another diversity training day? I would have laughed that off a few years ago. National and local government functionaries imposing penalties on people who have no resort to the protection of a proper impartial court? Penalties, penalties, penalties. Sixty quid to jump a traffic light, eighty quid for getting gobby with a copper, another sixty for putting rubbish in the wrong bin (not no bin, just the wrong one). Be nice to your dog, or gerbil, or we will lock you up for two years. There, that will solve the problem.
If someone had spent the last ten years in a coma, he would wake up and think that it must be April Fool's Day - to be faced with the awful truth that it was all for real.