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.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Bunny Boiler

Most cases seen by magistrates are the same old stuff, but sometimes a run-of-the-mill offence on the sheet turns out a bit differently, just like this one that I saw a while ago.
Criminal Damage is an everyday sort of allegation, although this one was a bit unusual in that there were two separate charges amounting to just under £5000 each. This is where the old magistrate's whiskers start to twitch - up to £5000 is summary only (i.e must be tried by magistrates) whereas £5001 and upwards is either-way and may be sent to the Crown Court.
Swift guilty pleas followed identification of the defendant, a tidy but red-eyed lady of a certain age. Her demeanour and her address in a salubrious part of Berkshire led to a lack of surprise when she was revealed to have no previous convictions in her forty-ahem years.
As the facts unfolded to the bench we heard that this was a lady who had engaged in an affair with a younger man who was married. Passions evidenced themselves in the usual manner, but eventually our lady's young lover decided to call it a day. I will draw a curtain over the steamy and passionate interlude that we went on to hear about, but the upshot was that, scorned and cast aside, she made her way to lover-boy's semi-detached and otherwise calm menage where she attempted to speak to him. He laid low, as many of us might have done, and may well have been relieved when he heard her car start up and drive off. Two minutes later, however, car and driver returned, and rammed lover-boy's car so hard that it finished up part way in to his kitchen. The mobile battering ram was, surprisingly, still driveable, and the lady in the case drove away after taking time to hurl various bits of Volvo through her by now decidedly ex-lover's window.
The damage to the victim's car and house was charged separately, and that's why we suspected that the CPS had deliberately left us an easy way out. There could not be any sense in troubling the Crown Court with this lot. We accepted jurisdiction, ordered her to pay for the damage and the Crown's costs and gave her a Conditional Discharge for twelve months. I then went on to ask her lawyer about the payment of compensation and heard that it had all been paid six weeks ago. Receipts were in court.
She had never been in court before and I am as sure as I can be that she will never trouble us again. Damage caused, damage paid for, seems fair enough to me.