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, November 30, 2010

A Word To The Unwise

This blog is blessed with a following of people who read, comment, agree, disagree, query, quibble, and whatnot. Apart from my loyal following of Mr. Toad and his acolytes (who maintain silence unless I venture to suggest that some drivers treat the law too casually for my taste) I don't imagine that I have too many avid readers from the criminal fraternity.
So here, as an early Christmas present, are a few of Uncle Bystander's hard-learned insights into the sharp end of criminal justice:-
i) A life of crime is rubbish, even if you are good at it.
ii) It's no fun having a stash of gold bars buried under the patio if you lie awake nights wondering when Harry The Hatchet or (preferably) the Old Bill come crashing through the door to exact their particular kind of retribution.
iii) Most drug dealers live with their Mum and don't earn enough to fund their own habit. The blinged-up Merc-driving Mr. Big is largely a media myth. It's a dirty shifty business.
iv) Never trust your Co-D. 'Honour Among Thieves' is bollocks. You think he's your mate but after he has sold you down the river he will rob his Granny's purse.
v) Listen to your brief. He is smarter and better educated than you. He is very likely free, as well. If he tells you to plead, plead. If he tells you it's worth a run, go for it but don't forget the one-third off that you are gambling with. In court, shut up. Let him do the talking, you can do the time. Win or lose he goes home to his wife and kids.
vi) However much you hear about rubbish Government computers, don't forget that even the piss-poor ones have a really long memory. If you have had a result in avoiding capture for some piece of naughtiness, but the police have your DNA or prints or whatever - forget about that Ryanair cheapie with Angie-Leigh or Kayley. The airport computer will sort out a reception committee for you before you have left Kos.
vii) Think carefully before you elect for the Crown Court. A jury is easier to fool than a bench of JPs (who are, trust me, rarely as daft as they look) but if you come unstuck and you get the wrong judge you will get hammered. I sat next to one of the old school once as he sentenced a mugger. Even on a late plea, Hizonner weighed the man off for a nine, when the unofficial estimates were for five at worst.

Good luck, but don't push your luck.