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 09, 2011

Trial and Errors

It was a nice change to hear a trial today, as I have been doing mostly remand courts, appraisals, and PoCA cases for the last couple of months. The main business of the day was a drink-drive case; these don't often plead not guilty as the number of possible defences is limited. As so often happens, the driver was caught because of a silly little accident in which he misjudged a manoeuvre and scraped his car, just as a police car was passing by. His reading was about one and a half times the limit, not the highest we have ever seen, but he escaped a long ban by the skin of his teeth because he was just a few weeks past ten years since a previous drink-drive conviction. If the stop had been just that little bit earlier, we would have had to impose a three year ban.
He was represented at his own expense and pleaded not guilty for reasons that I can't go into; we realised why he had laid out the cash for a solicitor when we heard that he drives, or rather drove, for a living.
For many people a driving ban can be a huge and costly punishment, and that is why the likes of 'Mr. Loophole' flourish.

We also sentenced an unprincipled fellow who used a forged disabled driver's badge as he went about his business. We fined him the best part of £500 and told him that we thought this was a mean and anti-social offence.