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Police: ADDICTS NEED TREATMENT NOT IMPRISONMENT

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace


It has been variously estimated that 70% - 90% of violent/anti social and/or acquisitive offending is by addicted individuals whether due to alcohol or class A drugs or a combination of both. Every court every day somewhere in the land a bench of magistrates sighs at its own impotence in being unable to refer the apology of an individual to where he should be referred ie by a compulsory order to be treated in a specialised institution until two psychiatrists consider his release would not be a risk for society. ASBOs, CRASBOS, Drink Banning Orders, Fixed Penalty Notices etc are as...

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Police: DOMESTIC ABUSE AND CROSS EXAMINATION

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
For quite some time, as J.P.s and criminal lawyers well know, in cases of domestic abuse, still awaiting classification as a dedicated offence, defendants are prevented from directly cross examining a complainant. In such matters a legally aided lawyer, if there is no representation, under s.38 will be tasked with that function.   With that in mind it seems odd that a High Court judge has declared his reaction insofar as he appears to be declaring his interpretation of the law in his own design.

Perhaps this can be explained by somebody with more knowledge than I.


Police: A RAY OF HOPE

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
Unsurprisingly my comments here are often critical of one or more parts of the justice system, of how it operates and where its operatives from high court judges to litter wardens have made decisions which are of interest usually because of their ineptness. It is therefore a change to report of a case earlier this week where a habitual criminal charged with robbing a High Court judge , refused to plead or offer any defence and even  refused to enter the courtroom.  Yet he was acquitted.  In other words the prosecution failed to persuade the jury beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant had committed the crime for which he had been charged. This is a ray of hope that the concept of innocent until proved guilty still resonates whatever  odds are stacked against a defendant.


Police: HMCTS COVER IT

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
Today the MOJ published the latest statistics on the county courts. All the usual stuff was there except............................
By chance I attended a county court yesterday for the first time in decades in pursuit of compensation from a national company.  I won my case but unfortunately did not receive all that I had claimed.  What I do claim correctly, however, is that my hearing began a full one and half hours after indicated time specified.  I believe I would have had to wait longer if I had not constantly complained to the clerk supervising the allocation process.  My point today is that nowhere in that volume of statistics is there any reference to such details which are as important an indicator of efficiency as those included. To the MOJ and HMCTS it seems participants` (plaintiffs and defendants) waiting times in court are just collateral damage. The in house barrister opposing me had turned up half an hour early as I had done; indeed as about thirty others in the waiting area had done.  Her wasted time had to have cost her...

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Police: JUSTICE UNBALANCED

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
That our courts system is probably near melt down will not be news to any whose knowledge is gained from first hand experience.  From 2010 when the provision of legal aid began to be  strained through a sieve and the closure of magistrates` courts became government policy enthusiastically put into practice by Kenneth Clarke and those who succeeded him there can be little doubt that the concept of the state offering justice for all and a level playing field between accuser and accused has been well and truly abandoned.  Now that the number jugglers are controlling policy government attitude seems to be to drive down costs irrespective of the effects on the lives of ordinary citizens caught up and entangled in the legal labyrinth which begins with police and ends in sentence.  It is therefore hardly surprising that magistrates` courts have seen increasing numbers of so called McKenzie friends attempting to do on the cheap what was previously the responsibility of state funded legally qualified practitioners. I posted my misgivings 4th...

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Police: NO HONOUR IN PUBLIC OFFICE

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
Honour:- the quality of knowing and doing what is morally right.  The meaning has been distorted by many people on many occasions to justify deeds which were anything but honourable. But taking the word at its original and sometimes still current definition its application to those in public office has steadily declined over the decades since 1945.  That decline could arguably be one of the many reasons why public faith in those in public office has diminished.  When demonstrably aberrant behaviour is revealed within senior figures connected with the NHS or justice system especially in or connected to police forces an irreparable chipping away of pubic confidence is inevitable. Scandals within the recently established Scottish Police are a perfect example of the rot which has eaten away that confidence. The latest episode is the refusal of the Scottish Police Authority chair Andrew Flanagan to resign after revelations of his reprehensible activities as a senior public figure.  

There seems to be no concept of right and wrong....

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Police: ONE LAW FOR HIS HONOUR AND ANOTHER FOR J.P.s

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
With many others I have long been aware that when it suits the MOJ J.P.s are certainly considered an important part of the judiciary and must be treated as such.  When it comes to a perceived breaking or bending of the myriad rules imposed on that same judiciary J.P.s are certainly considered a species apart.  Records of disciplinary action taken against J.P.s reveal a distinct tightening of supposed judicial boundaries when compared to judges. In the last few days three highly publicised incidents where offenders and sentencers; one lay bench and two crown court judges,  were involved in cross court comment illustrate my opinion that there is one law for them (judges) and another for us (magistrates).

Before Norfolk magistrates a foul mouthed female offender left the court unhindered by anything as direct as a charge of contempt and a cooling off period behind bars as should have been applied by a bench which had more tolerance than good sense and none for public perceptions.  In contrast a crown court judge in...

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Police: PLEASE BECOME A J.P.

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
Pleas for applications to become a magistrate seem to be appearing in increasing frequency in local print media.  Generally they are merely cut and paste portions from official requirements on MOJ website and perhaps some others. Earlier this week the Manchester Evening News published yet another such plea basing its headline on the dire consequences if the current JP scarcity is not reversed. But this time the usual verbiage was supplemented by detailed opinions and observations from senior magistrates in the area.  Those ex colleagues quoted are to be congratulated.  

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Police: TRIAL BY JURY:NOT G&S

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

The anomaly of either way offences has once more reached the higher echelons of our justice system. This time the intervention is by "Lady Justice Hallett, who sits on the Court of Appeal,(and who said) that a full jury trial could cost £20,000 for defendants accused of offences such as stealing sweets from a supermarket. She said the Government should ""remove the right to elect trial by jury in cases that simply do not warrant it"". Since the publication of two of my posts from 2009 and 2013 copied below, theft of items with a value of £200 can be tried summarily only.  However the...

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Police: FINED FOR WALKING HIS DOG

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
They do things differently in the Isle of Man.  It does seem ludicrous that this council has a bye law prohibiting dogs from walking on a grassed unused sports field.  And I`m not a pet owner.




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