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.

My Photo
Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Little Temptations

I am as sure as I can be that my 29,000 colleagues are incorruptible in their day-to-day duties. Even a cynic would have to admit that the practice of sitting three people on a bench makes it all but impossible to suborn the court.

We still need to be careful about the little things, though. A few weeks ago an old friend approached me in the pub to certify a copy document - a simple and routine procedure for any JP. He handed me colour photocopies of two passports - I know both of the holders and I had not the slightest doubt that the copies were fine. "Can I just see the originals?" I enquired. "Oh, they aren't here. But you can sign anyway, can't you?" "Er- no" I said. "But why?" he asked. "You know me and you know these two". "Yes" I said, "but I have to sign that I have compared the originals with the copies, and I haven't". "Come on", he said, "does it matter?" "Well yes it does" I replied. "I kind of promised the Queen that I wouldn't tell fibs, even small ones. So no".
We left it there, and I was reminded of the time that another old pal, who had previously asked me, brought along his renewal form for a shotgun certificate. "But it's blank, Reg" I said. "Don't worry", he replied. "Just sign it and I'll fill it in later".
"No bloody fear" I thought. "Sorry, mate" was what I said, while asking the barmaid for a pen that Reg could use to fill in the form. It took him 15 minutes.