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, July 17, 2007

Downfall of a Master Criminal (3)

Jimmy suffers from chronic back trouble - he just can't get off it in the mornings. He was due in court two weeks ago to face community sentence breach proceedings but had his hearing adjourned when he sent in a doctor's letter saying that he was unfit to attend court. He didn't turn up on the new date either, so we issued a warrant for his arrest. Later in the day his solicitor, in court for another client, asked us to withdraw the warrant because a medical certificate had been handed in to his office, and faxed to the court. The prosecutor had a look at the fax and handed it up to the bench without comment. As we were looking at the document, the prosecutor retrieved its predecessor from his file and handed it up. They were strikingly similar, except for the date, and that was the giveaway. When you type a date in Word, it is usual for the day of the month to be followed by a small superscript such as 'st' on the 1st, 'nd' on the 2nd and so on. Someone had altered the date, but left the superscript, so we were supposed to believe that a doctor would have certified his patient unfit to attend court on the '16nd' of the month.
We refused to withdraw the warrant, and the prosecutor undertook to refer the forgery to the police for investigation. If the document proved to be forged, Jimmy will have been in a lot more bother than he would have had for a simple fail to surrender.