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.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Thought Provoking Stuff

Peter Hitchens writes in a newspaper:-
I think prisons should be harsh, austere places where wrongdoers work hard to pay for their keep, to make restitution to their victims, and to save for their release.
If only we had such prisons, instead of the squalid, disorderly warehouses we do have, our streets would be calmer and safer, and many would never be tempted into crime.
That is why I also believe in proper justice, fair trials and the presumption of innocence. Nobody should go inside unless we are very sure he deserves it. And I think that the punishment in jail should be imposed by the authorities on our behalf, not by the prisoners.
It would be easy for me to join other commentators in laughing at the miseries inflicted in prison on those who are despised even by the 'normal' criminals, though quite why we should applaud the cruelty of heartless robbers and men of violence, I do not know.
I fear that a growing number of innocents are in jail because it is easier to convict them than it is to arrest, let alone to convict, violent brutes who can and do frighten witnesses into silence.
But I do not join in.
And even the guilty, including the very worst offenders, should be punished in an orderly, measured and limited fashion, according to law, not driven into suicidal misery by lawless persecution, with no hope of an end to it.
So please be kind enough to read what follows (though not while you are having breakfast) and ask yourselves if this is what you want happening in your name, least of all to an innocent person.
I am unconvinced that this man is guilty of the dreadful crime alleged against him – a rape supposedly inflicted on his own stepdaughter, mysteriously 'remembered' many years later after a bitter family row about her drug abuse, with no evidence but one person's word against another.
Two members of the jury were likewise unconvinced of his guilt which, in better days, would have been enough to prevent his conviction. His wife and his employer, also, think the charge a nonsense.
It makes no difference. He now faces seven years in segregated units, supposedly to save him from violent attacks.
His wife describes his life: 'Food is invariably contaminated and inedible – urine in mushy peas and mashed potatoes, semen in rice pudding and custard, bleach in boiled potatoes, dirt, filth and hair in rice, sputum and faeces in everything.
My husband is frightened that he may contract hepatitis or HIV...verbal abuse is constant... physical attack only a matter of time...help and advice non-existent...clothes, bed-linen and towels are again contaminated...there are piles of faeces in the communal showers.'
Yes, I know I'm supposed to be Right-wing. And, do you know something? I really am.
But that doesn't mean I can ignore this sort of thing, let alone laugh about it. It's evil, wrong and a scandal, however Right-wing you may be.

Well, Mr.H., I am not especially right-wing but I can't ignore it either.