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.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dipso Facto

The usher came in and bent down to whisper in the Clerk's ear. A quick nod, and the clerk turned to me: "Watch the next one sir, he's drunk", and so he was. He staggered into the dock, and stood casting a bleary and uncertain eye towards the Bench. He slurred his name and address, and had a problem recalling his date of birth. His solicitor told us that she did not feel that her client was ready to get on with the case, and asked us to put it back until the afternoon. I didn't think from the state of him that would be nearly long enough. The solicitor suggested a one-day adjournment and said that he would promise to turn up sober in the morning. I caught a glimpse of the man's father who was sitting on the gallery shaking his head vigorously. I spoke to the Clerk, sotto voce: "any reason not to remand him in custody for 24 hours?" "No sir, that would be for his own protection". As soon as I saw the two Serco officers appear I told him that he was remanded until tomorrow, but it didn't seem to sink in at first. "Come on this way" said one officer, "and we'll get things sorted out". It looked as if he was going to kick off, but he moved unsteadily towards the door to the cells, growling "Don't touch me" at the officers.
I later heard that I wasn't Mr. Popular downstairs since a major mop-and-bucket job had been required to clean up after him (our cells lack toilets or sinks, being designed for short-term use).
He will probably be sober by tomorrow, but he will equally probably have a foul hangover. I wish my colleagues luck with him.