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.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Strong Feelings

Thanks to Victor E for spotting this report in the Daily Telegraph. The chairman's words were ill-chosen, although he did not himself call the boys 'scum', rather saying that others would think that. Nevertheless his words did not sit well in a courtroom, especially in a youth court.
It is easy to see how disgusting most people (including me) would find this offence to be, but a court chairman has to pick his words with care; what he says to his colleagues in the retiring room is another matter.
The Bench Chairman and the Clerk to the Justices will already have consulted on this. If I were dealing with it, I would probably invite the chairman to an Interview Without Coffee, with the Clerk present to take a note, and I guess that I might well identify a training need, perhaps before the chairman next takes the middle seat. However, these things have recently become more bureaucratic so we shall see what happens. The article says:-
A spokesman for Her Majesty's Court Service said: "An investigation has been launched in to what was said and all parties involved in the case will be spoken to.
"There were two other magistrates with Mr Molloy and they will be spoken to along with others to determine the context of the comment.
"The investigation is in its earlier stages and it is not clear yet what action, if any, will be taken."
The spokesman implied Mr Molloy would be able to continue in his role as magistrate although would not officially confirm this.
This is a judicial issue, and HMCS needs to keep its sticky fingers off. HMCS is there to facilitate the judiciary, not to manage it.