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, July 19, 2008

A Bit More About That Crash

As you may see from the comments on the previous post, a minority of police officers are quick to perceive criticism, and equally quick to respond with hostility and contempt to magistrates and the rest of the criminal justice system, tossing in casual insults as they type. No problem here; I have broad shoulders and I am no stranger to abuse in all kinds of contexts from my job, to my voluntary JP job, to the local pub. I make just one comment:- you are rather more likely to find a fair cross-section of opinion in a JPs' retiring room than you are in a police canteen.

Here's a cross-section of responses from Haloscan. I have taken the liberty of adding comments, simply to make it easier to read.

"Just how much do you actually dislike 'the police' Bystander?"
Not at all.

"How many idiots did you let free this week with this woolly thinking?"

"on a case like this you're able to immediately tell that the police were at fault?"
Where do I say that?

"So an uninsured thief in a stolen car, probably no driving licence, shouldn't be stopped as he is no danger to the public. Just what planet are you living on Bystander?"
Where do I say that?

"interesting to see how many times our car thief had been let off with a lenient sentence by the bystanders of the world"
Who of course make up sentences as they go along……..

"just think had he been in prison he could not have stolen the car....."
Which applies to almost every offender.

"I might however become enraged if I discover that the courts subsequently take away his licence (assuming he had one in the first place) for 12 months and give him a token prison sentence suspended for not very long at all"
Where do you think JPs get their sentencing guidelines from?

"It’s not even worth discussing this on here. The author is completely ignorant of police operating practices and has made a wild assumption without knowing any facts, much like the tabloids that are derided on here. This site is quickly turning into a very cheap police bashing forum"
Comment is superfluous.

"Unfortunately, the same level of scrutiny will never befall the judiciary of this land, whose naval (sic) gazing and prevarication in deciding what to do with class 'A' drug abusing repeat criminals (as undoubtedly this lunatic will turn out to be) is never subject, it seems to the same level of examination"
To whom should I be answerable? The Court of Appeal, the Police Federation, or the Daily Mail?

One final point:- I have no idea what the driver of the stolen car will be charged with, but I can see a problem if he is charged with Death by Dangerous Driving if it transpires that it was a police driver whose actions triggered, however inadvertently, the fatal crash. It could indeed end up as a simple TWOC, whereupon someone is bound to blame the courts.