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, July 06, 2011


These words, posted by our commenter Italian Lawyer deserve greater prominence than the comments can give. I commend them to you:

"We have an adversarial system, the purpose of which is not to find out what happened, it is to see whether an offence is proved beyond reasonable doubt".
How I wish I could translate that, print it in very large blocks and paste it in our courtrooms where the judge must see it while sitting. We, too, have an adversarial system...in theory. But we do allow victims to sue for damages in the criminal trial, which puts the judge in an impossible position: he's supposed -to see whether an offence is proved beyond a reasonable doubt-, but he's also under pressure to see that victims have justice and that not in moral, but in very material terms. However can he reconcile the two, if the accused happens to be a likely suspect but the evidence is unsound? Something's got to give, and that is all too often the standard of proof and basic fairness in hearing evidence . Non to mention that in a system that does not allow the accused to testify, and would not allow either plaintiff or defendant to testify if it was a civil case, having the victim both ! ; witness for the prosecution and plaintiff is inherently unfair, and extremely unwise:perjury thrives, and do you wonder.
That of solacing victims through the criminal trial is a dangerous delusion which easily creates other victims. The way to hell, as the proverb goes, is paved with pious intentions. Stick to your own system , or you'll regret it.