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, April 16, 2008

Reality Television

My colleagues and I spent fifteen minutes watching telly the other day. Our local High Street is well lit and covered by good quality CCTV with full-time operators who can zoom and pan the cameras to follow any action. What we saw was the depressingly familiar sight of groups of young men spilling out of the pubs (this was just before 2 am) and lurching around, sometimes breaking into a run, while making the kind of simian gestures of challenge and aggression that I used to watch on David Attenborough's programmes, as groups of uninvolved people hurried by, having the sense not to look at what was going on for fear of the ritual:- "What you f*cking looking at? You want some then?".
Sporadic incidents came and went. Cars cruised by, one or two being sent on their way by a kick from a Nike trainer, their drivers having more sense than to stop. Police finally turned up (in a car, despite the police station being 300 yards away at most) but too late to prevent a minicab driver being assaulted.
One of those concerned had been involved in something similar a few months ago. The court on that occasion heard that he had been out drinking for twelve hours in a total of five pubs, and had claimed to have drunk about 16 pints of lager and a dozen or more shots of spirits before, surprise surprise, getting into a fight. The assault on the taxi driver was the last straw for us, so we sent him straight inside and revoked the community order that he had previously been given.
One other thing:- how does someone in receipt of benefit afford 16 pints and a dozen shorts? That would come to at least fifty or sixty quid round my way. Jobseekers' Allowance for a man under 25 is something like £48. Odd, that.