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, November 24, 2011


This depressing letter was apparently written to order by a young offender as part of his ISSP - a last-ditch order that attempts to impose some structure and order on a young chaotic life.

I have been sceptical about this 'say sorry' business since I first raised an eyebrow at the idea of police giving a conditional caution that includes a letter of apology. For one thing, not too many offenders are literate or articulate, and anyone can pretend to be sorry, just as I would do when my mother told me to apologise to someone for something. A mumbled sorry, given with eyes downcast or averted doesn't mean a lot.

I had the idea of producing a pro-forma letter to save time, along the lines of


I am writing to say how sorry I am for stealing/damaging/breaking into/assaulting/swearing at you/your house/your car/your cat. I was angry/drunk/out of my skull at the time and I will try to be better in future.

I hope that you soon get the insurance money/have the stitches out/get a new cat.

All the best