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, November 14, 2009

A Grim Reminder

This is a tragic reminder of the responsibility that magistrates carry when they decide to grant or withhold bail. Every bail decision is a calculated risk because there are few certainties. Whether there are 'substantial grounds' to fear further offences, failure to surrender, or interference with witnesses is a judgment call, pure and simple.
The newspaper is unfair in its report, as you would expect: it suggests that the decision was taken by one named JP rather than a bench, "despite" CPS objections. If we always followed the CPS line, nobody would ever get bail and we would need another 50,000 prison places. As I have said before, all that we can do is consider the evidence with great care, stick to the Bail Act rules, and hope that we get it right.