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.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What Cash Shortage?

The other day one of our charmless and amoral regular customers appeared as an 'extra', which means that his case had been put into the list at the last minute. He appeared in custody in the secure dock, flanked by two of Serco's finest. It turned out that he was on bail to our court on a medium-serious matter, due to return in about ten days' time. He was bailed to an address in Kent, thus keeping him away from his usual haunts and his usual cronies.
However, he was also wanted on warrant for a £7.90 shoplifting that happened before Christmas. So the Met saw fit to send two officers in a police vehicle on a nearly 200-mile round trip to pick up a man who was already in the court system, drive him back, lock him in a cell overnight, and produce him before me and my colleagues.
He pleaded guilty to the £7.90 theft,and we inevitably sentenced him to a fine, deemed served by his time in custody. He was released, to make his own way back to his bail address, and so we ordered the court staff to make sure that he was not penalised for missing his sign-on time at the police station in Kent, for one day at least.
What were the Met up to? This must have cost hundreds of pounds, if not more. No possible benefit could have accrued to the justice system nor to the community.

I thought the police were short of funds. If they are not, then we have been misled. If they are, then someone with a bit of rank needs to sort this out, and make sure that use of resources is properly prioritised in the future.