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.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Drop

A few weeks ago I had the chance to practice a technique in which I was becoming rusty - The Drop. Years ago we often used suspended committals to prison as a way to loosen the wallets of recalcitrant finees. The Drop is the art of telling the man in the dock that you are committing him to prison, and then timing to a split second the words 'however this will be suspended....' - usually after putting the top back on your pen and taking off your glasses.
I was able to do it twice in one day. The first was a fine defaulter who had paid not a penny in seven years, and the second an offender who was just - and only just - on the safe side of the decision to suspend. It's a bit theatrical, but in these cases it got money out of the first chap, and put, I sincerely believe, the fear of god into the second.