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Police: COURT REPORTING

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
I have commented here previously and it is well known that there is a dearth of court reporting from the magistrates courts.  There are many reasons put forward for this; social media is a substitute for local reporting, local newspapers are in decline and those still publishing operate with reporting costs limited, new journalists are not well paid and court reports are generally served up by such novices in local press, public interest is lacking etc etc.  So three cheers for Grimsby Live.  I don`t know whether there is a hard copy available to the good burghers of  Grimsby but it is a pleasure for this observer to read local reports.  Other local press barons take note.  


Police: BAKERS AND BARRISTERS

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
A few weeks ago a Belfast baker won his Supreme Court appeal against the lower courts` decisions that he had no legal right to refuse to bake a cake and decorate it with what he  claimed was a message with which he had fundamental disagreement. A few days ago a female Afghan barrister practising in this country was told by her instructing solicitor that his client did not want her to represent him in court but instead wanted a white male barrister to do the job. It will be interesting to see the future ramifications of this incident. The comments following the report are as interesting as the case itself. 


Police: LOOK BACK IN ANGUISH

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

Earlier this morning I had reason to revisit the first post published on 19th November 2009 by The Justice of the Peace on a site now long since withdrawn from the internet. On the second anniversary of that first post I posted the following:-

"Exactly two years ago today my first post appeared on this site. It was entitled CAUTION GIVEN AFTER A CONVICTION FOR A SIMILAR OFFENCE. That was 804 posts ago. With approaching seven thousand visitors monthly this blog is still miniscule in its numbers of readers cf the other one. However I thank all who have found my literary meanderings of some interest. This exercise has however provided an avenue of escape for the writer`s frustrations at the underlying decay which is eating away at the foundations of this grand old institution, a decay which has been caused 100% by government`s determination to continue to impede the quality and efficiency of justice available to the common man in order to try and obtain it on the cheap. There are two foundations which a democratic government must provide for...

Continues, Read More...


Police: TO BE OR NOT TO BE A TOTTER

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
I was retired from the bench three and a half years ago and many fundamentals at court have changed since then, some for the better but more for the worse. One aspect of sentencing which was made very clear to my bench more than once was that in the case of motoring offences where the option available was to immediately  disqualify or issue penalty points resulting in an offender being a totter and thus receiving a mandatory six months ban the correct and appropriate procedure was to issue the requisite points and let justice take its course in the immediate disqualification of the miscreant.  I am unaware if this process was advised for my bench only or was laid down nationally.  Not surprisingly I am unaware of current advice given to magistrates. It would appear that at Norwich Magistrates Court discretion was used contrary to the aforementioned advice when I was active.  Perhaps a current court worker could clarify the situation?

PS The court reporter appears to forgotten how to add up.  8 penalty points as reported plus an...

Continues, Read More...


Police: SENTENCING OUTCOMES AT KIRKLEES MAGISTRATES COURT

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

Results from Kirklees and neighbouring magistrates courts make interesting reading. Some readers might discern a pattern in or between courts` decisions; some might find the sentencing insufficiently severe or unjustifiably less than they would have applied.  The current sentencing guidelines are available here.  Whatever the subjective opinion there is no doubt that political considerations are driving sentencing every bit as much as judicially conceived desirable outcomes. 


Police: A BENCH`S DECISION IS POLITICALLY DESTABILISING

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
There is one factor in the sentencing procedures that I found was overlooked many times by experienced colleagues and "news" to those recently appointed; namely protection of the public. I take that simple phrase to mean that people should be protected from what could be reasonably be considered as the likelihood of an offender committing future crimes based upon his/her previous record.  The thinking process for sentencers could be similar to that when bail is being considered for an individual who is awaiting trial or a future appearance. It`s not quite looking into a crystal ball but it is still a process where common sense is involved; a requirement no longer required for aspiring magistrates. An example of where it seems that public protection was recently a concept foreign to a lay bench in Lancashire is available here in a comprehensive report. The comments following should not be ignored.  They indicate how out of touch that bench was with their fellow Lancastrians.  Of course those who take the time...

Continues, Read More...


Police: POLICE REFUSE LOST PROPERTY

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
Further evidence as if any were needed that the decimation of finances for policing is changing generations` habits of our police being regarded as with us rather than as in many jurisdictions  with them is shown by the recent but little publicised announcement by the Chief Constables` Council that the honest citizen`s instinct to hand in lost valuables at their nearest police station will be rebuffed. This decision is hoped to save £1.5 million annually although how such numbers can be predicted beats me. I suppose time and motion studies can conjure up any number that`s wanted. I am sure that I am not alone when as a child I found a banknote in the street and my parent said we must take it to the police station.  I doubt that many parents would have had such advice in recent times. The police, of course, are spouting the same old story about focusing scarce resources on areas of highest concern to ensure the public are kept safe.  

Breakdown in society does not necessarily come about by riots, marches, terrorism or even...

Continues, Read More...


Police: POLICE & LAW SOCIETY IN JOINT TIRADE AGAINST GOVERNMENT

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

It seems that the Law Society and senior police officials are getting together to spread the word that  falling numbers of crown court prosecutions are not some statistical accident or an indication that society is becoming more observant of the law. No; the numbers are indicative of fewer police to catch the miscreants in the first place and fewer police to process the cases for the CPS which is not itself directly criticised but as those in the legal world know only too well that organisation having been down sized by more than 10% in funds and  personnel in a decade is not without culpability.  See these press releases of the last few days from DevonLincolnshire, Northamptonshire,  North Wales, and Warwickshire. An obvious PR exercise against austerity but how much did it cost and by whom was it sanctioned?


Police: THIS JUDGE IS A BULLY

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
I have opined in the past that Justices of the Peace seem to be more harshly treated for alleged transgressions than members of the professional judiciary. The recent case of a judge threatening to jail a 14 year old child if she cried in court whilst her mother was giving evidence is a case in point. HH has been criticised by the Court of Appeal. 

Such flagrant bullying of a minor should not be concluded with just a rap across the legal knuckles. He should be charged with misconduct. If it were a magistrate making those remarks s/he would be on the scrapheap in short order. Whether it is right that part time unpaid lay J.P.s should be dealt with on a different basis from full or part time professional judiciary is another matter to be debated at another time. 


Police: MAGISTRATES` MINIMUM AGE ON TWITTER POLL

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
I have recently had a dispute on Twitter on the worthiness of young magistrates cf their older counterparts. Whilst a fresh pair of eyes looking at a situation cannot be criticised, as a reason for having a minimum age of 18 it does not hold water. Barely out of school and with, according to latest science, a still not fully developed brain, it is unlikely that at such an age justice can be dispensed with maturity, wisdom and unfettered by personal considerations.  This argument can of course be developed for many more words. The representative of diversity protagonists seem to be virtually unassailable these days  but for those interested I have tweeted a poll on Twitter @bloggingJP on this topic. Whether you agree with me or not make your opinion public anonymously.  




Latest The Justice Of The Peace Stories

COURT REPORTING
BAKERS AND BARRISTERS
LOOK BACK IN ANGUISH
TO BE OR NOT TO BE A TOTTER
SENTENCING OUTCOMES AT KIRKLEES MAGISTRATES COURT

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