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, March 01, 2011

Slow Learner

I always find it rather sad to see an elderly person in the dock, but as people nowadays stay active for longer, it is not unusual. One of the most poignant sights I have ever seen is the old codgers' wing at Wandsworth Prison. Many of the cells have wheelchairs or walking frames parked outside their doors, and there are some raised flower and vegetable beds in the yard to give the old inmates some work to do, the usual workshops being impractical.
Last year we saw a man of 70 who had committed yet another offence of dishonesty. His record was a great sheaf of paper, detailing convictions that started in 1951 when he was a young boy (discharged, costs half-a-crown) and going on to list countless prison sentences, none of which had the effect of making him pack it in.
What I wanted to say was "Look, you silly old bugger, you have been a thief for 60 years, and you still can't see that you are rubbish at it - that's why you keep getting locked up. Go away and make the best of your old age. The pension will even pay better than thieving". I didn't say it of course, but then what difference would anything I say make to him?
Incorrigible isn't a word that comes up in court much nowadays, but this old bloke is exactly that.