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.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Canned Martyr

David Jones has asked some direct questions in the comments,and I have inserted my direct answers, viz:-
Question for you Bystander.

(link to Council Tax refusenik story)

Question 1. Would you have sent this man to jail? For how long?
Yes. For the minimum period possible - perhaps 14 days.
Question 2. Would you have had a conscience about seeing this man, an OAP, led from your court in handcuffs - a man that has fought for your freedom in WW2?
Not at all. He fought for freedom under the law. He has chosen to break that law and must take the consequences.
Question 3. Would you have sought to find an alternative means - you have the power to write the debt off or order his pension to be attached etc.
Alternative means would already have been looked at. This man seemed determined on martyrdom by refusing to pay.
Question 4. Or would you have felt that you must enforce the law to the letter and that you are absolved from any conscience because the law says you must jail?
Absolutely. I have taken an oath to enforce the law as it is, not as I would like it to be. As it happens the law was properly applied here.
Question 5. What are your thoughts about the well paid council officials who brought this case forward and who MUST have their pound of flesh?
They have acted quite properly, and should sleep soundly tonight.