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.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Apocrypha (22)

We dealt with a Lithuanian drink-driver the other day. Eastern Europeans seem to be living up to their stereotype as hard drinkers, and this was no exception. We had a Russian interpreter for him, and when she was sworn and she repeated, as is the procedure, the oath in Russian, I heard the word 'Pravda' three times. That reminded me of the old Russian joke: Pravda means truth, and Izvestia means news: it was said that there is no Pravda in Izvestia, and no Izvestia in Pravda.
The holiday season is known for good reason as the Silly Season, when newspapers are run by second-line staff and the search for a story will often plumb the depths. I do hope that this is not one such: it surely cannot be serious. Can it?
I was at the Crown Court a while ago, and at lunchtime the judges were forced to make hurried changes to their lists as several trials were taking longer than expected. As they huddled with the administrator, one asked another: "You've got a sex ticket, haven't you?". Judges have to be 'ticketed' for certain serious and complex cases, rape being one of them. I rather like the idea of a sex ticket.
Apart from drink-drive I haven't sat on a motoring trial for many months. Traffic now goes through 'gateway' courts which are administratively convenient, but inconvenient for defendants and mind-numbing for magistrates. I heard of one such court having 320 cases listed for a single day!