During my time on the bench I sat on very few cases concerning indecent images of a child. Those that do come to mind were of category A or B and were of course sent to the crown court. The 21 year old male sentenced by Blackburn magistrates last week has in my humble opinion reason to feel aggrieved at a justice system which in effect came to its conclusion by finding him guilty by applying the concept of strict liability in theory if not in practice. In England and Wales if you are under 18 you must have parental consent to get married. However, if you are 16 or 17 years old and you are from England and Wales you can be married in Scotland. The child in the case in question was 16 and had on her own initiative sent an image to her then boyfriend. The report is available here. It provides food for thought.
On November 19th 2009 I published my first post for this blog on a host site which was taken down by its owners some years ago. On re reading that post now copied below, no longer being an active member of the bench, I do not have the information to decide whether its content is as accurate now as it was then. However judging by various although necessarily limited published reports I would not bet against the conclusions of 2009 being remedied currently. That being the case it doesn`t increase my confidence that past lessons have been learnt by current participants at all levels of our justice system.
"Problems within the criminal justice system generally make the headlines on the relatively limited occasions when a serious mishap occurs. Unlike the NHS where most of us are "customers" the majority of the population has still just managed not to be engaged within the system although the numbers are gradually rising but that`s a tale for another time.
Most caring parents would never dream of giving a very naughty...
How many times have we heard “Crime is down, Police Reform is working”? Ad Nauseum I suspect.
Police Reform has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster, devised and forced through by inexperienced politicians and their hired help. Politicians who have no experience or idea of how Policing works then compound that with a stunning arrogance refusing to listen to anybody who actually KNOWS how Policing works. Nuggets such as “it’s not about the numbers”, “your job is to cut crime” and “Stop Crying Wolf” all show how Theresa May either had no clue how Policing works or deliberately ignored it. Readers will have their own view on whether Police Reform is working, my opinion is quite unequivocal.
What we don’t need are Chief Constables and their teams doing the government’s dirty work for them. We have even seen the National Police Chiefs Council seriously considering Compulsory Severance as a means to better implement “the cuts”. That is nothing short of “traitorous” in my...
There is an anxious crowd on the corner of Hungerford as we come lights and sirens down Park Street. A woman with tattooed arms waves for us to hurry. A man is on the ground with a crowd clustered around him. I can see another man kneeling over his chest. His arms together like he is doing CPR. “They hit him twice,” a bystander says to me. “Lot of people packing it on this corner.”
“He was just walking along and down he went,” another says.
“He gave him four in the right,” the first man says, and then nodding toward a shorter man wearing a Pittsburgh Pirates hat, “and he gave him two in the left.”
The man on the ground has his eyes open now and starts looking around as the crowd cheers.
“You oded, man,” a man says to him, still holding the syringe with the atomizer on it.
“I did not,” he says. “What are you all looking?”
“Man, you were out. I did CPR on you, man.”
“No, I fine,” he says. “I just fell out.”
“No, man,” a man with the 4 mg nasal spray in his hand says. “You...
Since this blogger joined Twitter just over a year ago I have found it has proved often to be a very useful early warning system of events which reach daily newspapers and TV 24 hours later. Currently it seems there is what can usefully described as apoplexy amongst lawyers of both persuasions over the activation of section 162 of the Policing and Crime Act 2017 to ascertain defendants' nationality when they attend at the start of a case. Since all criminal cases begin in the magistrates` courts I have been very surprised that there seems to have been little or no public comment from the Magistrates Association; another reason why I consider this body a total waste of time for your average Justice of the Peace. The furore from the legal profession seems to resonate about the possibilities of deportation for offenders. In 2016 there were 39,626 people who were removed from the UK or departed voluntarily after the initiation of removal. This is down from 41,879 in 2015. This figure excludes individuals refused...
Stephen, a student at a south London school, joined us recently here at Crimestoppers for a two-week work placement. Here, he tells us how it went – and why Crimestoppers is more like the Bat Signal than Batman!
Are you looking for a work placement?
Are you like me a few months before writing this and have no idea what to do for work experience? Do you want to work for a major charity? Have you watched too many shows about serial killers on Netflix and want to know what working in a place that helps to catch criminals is like? Want to get a good-sounding line on your future CV when applying for other jobs? If you answered yes to a few of the above things, then I can wholeheartedly recommend Crimestoppers for your work experience in the summer.
What’s Crimestoppers all about?
Now, before you continue reading, I would like to clarify a few things. A lot of people have heard of Crimestoppers. You might have heard the name on the news when major crimes like murders and armed...
Earlier this month, Steve Reed MP, introduced a private member’s bill to the House of Commons which is being informally referred to as Seni’s Law – the Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill 2017. This follows the death in 2010, of Olaseni Lewis in a hospital in south London – an incident to which the police were called and which involved restraint. Mr Reed is the local MP for Seni Lewis’s parents who have campaigned for justice since this tragic incident and the publication of a PMB in Parliament brings the possibility of legal changes which may assist in protecting individuals whilst they are detained in hospitals under the Mental Health Act 1983.
The Bill has received support in principle across the political spectrum so it’s extremely likely that a version of this Bill will become law in England at some point next year. (It will not affect the other three countries of the UK because health issues are devolved in those jurisdictions).
The Bill is largely not about the police, I am very pleased...