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.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Heavy-Handed As Usual

The Government has decided to do something about the alarming rise in binge-drinking. Okay, binge drinking is a Bad Thing, both for individuals and for society, but the proposed measures,typically for this government, are unnecessarily draconian.
Pubs clubs and off-licenses are, guess what, licensed by their local authority (that's a job magistrates did until a few years ago, but that's another issue) so they have a lot to lose by breaking the terms of their licenses. The licensing authority has considerable powers to ensure proper management of its licensees, those powers being subject to appeal to a magistrates' court
So what is this flat-footed nonsense about huge fines and, for heaven's sake, six-month jail terms other than a knee-jerk reaction by ministers with one eye on the impending election?
I cannot imagine any scenario where an irresponsible licensee could not be brought to heel by the threatened or actual removal of his license, with appropriate fines for deliberate breaches thus losing his livelihood - so what's the point of threatening prison? Prison has its part to play in our justice system, but not for this, on any analysis.