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, September 05, 2007


I have had a busy couple of weeks. During the holiday peak season many colleagues are away, and if need be I will volunteer to cover vacancies. In addition I had previously agreed to do a Crown Court appeals sitting, and one case ran over the day and I had to go back for another go at finishing it.
One case, a Special Reasons hearing on a drink drive, was interesting not so much for the legal side, as we had little difficulty in deciding it, but for the fact that the defendant had previously been front-page news in the tabloids, and that the SR arguments placed before us included alleged bad behaviour by a TV personality. So I am sorry to be a tease, but that's all I can say about it. There were no press in court (there rarely are) for a story that would certainly have excited the interest of a red-top.
We heard a Racially Aggravated Assault case and I was reminded that most such cases that I see are Hindu-on Muslim, or Black on Asian, or Sikh-on-Hindu, or any one of the myriad combinations of racial conflict that are possible in a diverse area. Casting my mind back, the only one I have seen in recent years involving a white defendant was a man who was rude to a Welshman. I wrote about it here.
One of our regular customers, a surly youth of 18 who has just joined the grown-ups after a lengthy career appearing in the Youth Court, was unable to resist the temptation to brick the side window of a car that had been parked with a sat-nav visible on the windscreen, and make off with the gadget. Unfortunately for him the visible sat-nav was too good to be true as the police had left the car there, fully wired with cameras.
We are seeing more and more Proceeds of Crime Act applications to detain and, eventually, to forfeit cash that police have seized, and the amounts are getting lower. Just a thousand or two is quite common now, whereas a couple of years ago we never saw much less than £10,000. My personal record was over £3 million some years ago, but that's another story.

What a fascinating job this is!