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.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Today's sentencing of Jon Venables has elicited the customary "it's not enough" reaction from Denise Fergus, mother of the murdered James. Of course, for some people, suffering a loss such as hers, no sentence can ever be enough, but it is ridiculous for her spokesman to get into the technicalities of sentencing; the judge is impartial and learned, and fully familiar with the law and with the guidelines; the spokesman is merely spouting the tabloid mob-rule line.
It is depressingly redolent of that poor woman Mrs. Bennett, whose son was murdered by Brady and Hindley and whose body remains undiscovered. Every time Hindley's case came up in the papers the bereaved and ageing lady was dragged in front of the cameras and the microphones and the reporters, eager for yet another vengeful headline about the demonised Hindley. She should have been left to grieve in peace, as, now, should Denise Fergus.

(later) By the way, the case was entrusted to Sir David Bean, who is seen as a safe pair of hands to deal with high-profile and sensitive cases such as this one. I have met him on a couple of occasions, and he is very impressive. He wears his learning and his status lightly, and I strongly suspect that we shall see him in a very senior post indeed before he is done with his career.

(later still) Here's what the Judge said.

And here is the foam-flecked report from The Sun