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Police: WHAT NO LEGAL AID REALLY MEANS

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace


More than enough has been written about the scandal of the reducing availability of legal aid.  It`s also a scandal that with all the power they have the legal fraternity has watched over this debacle for over a decade effectively washing their hands while offering platitudes in public. Imagine dear reader that you are faced with a trial at a magistrates court and unable to afford legal representation but the state`s rules insist you cannot be offered legal aid.  At a preliminary hearing this form  (click on first link) will be passed to you by the usher for you to complete. No further comment from me is necessary. 



Police: BELOW THE LEGAL SURFACE

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace


When considering the content of any possible post on this site I assume rightly or wrongly that most readers in addition to an interest in the justice system and all which it encompasses will have at least some knowledge of the law and its application.  I assume also that they will have an interest and at least a layman`s knowledge of statistics insofar as they relate to criminality an example of which would be the offences committed by BAME minorities and their proportion in the population.  However with the limited amount of print media actually producing court reports except in high profile cases from the crown or High Court much criminality or legal opinion goes unreported.  Below I post on some examples of cases which below the legal surface arguably say more about the justice system that much of what is reported from the Old Bailey or the Appeal Court. 

It seems that breast feeding mothers called to jury service can have an exemption for a maximum of twelve months only.  This seems to be an arbitrary time frame considering eg the...

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Police: ADDICTION REHAB AND A FAILED M.O.T.

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace



Yesterday I took my car for its very first MOT.  Three years on from purchase I expected it to sail through the very exacting standards which now apply.  It did.  And the process reminded me of the second car I ever owned; it was 1966 and I presented a recently purchased  rather tatty grey 1960 Vauxhall Victor RWS 192, exactly like the image, to the MOT garage which was almost as run down as the car. To my surprise after the initial inspection the mechanic told me he could not proceed to jack the car up to check the exhaust for robust structure because if he did so the car which was a total rust bucket would almost certainly split down the middle. As a result I sold it for scrap for the then good price of £13. This simple tale is an example of when to cease applying a process when the result is obviously so unobtainable and further efforts would be a waste of time and a danger to all. And so to our government`s policy on illegal drugs. It is the failure in common sight which is conveniently oblivious to those who...

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Police: SELECTING MET POLICE COMMISSIONERS

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

The opportunity to express opinions on matters of significance to legally minded readers is a privilege. On reflection these opinions can be divided into two aspects of our system of justice: the general or macro view and the detailed micro viewpoint illustrated by examples which might or might not be statistically significant for the PhD student of criminology but are illustrative of what I could describe as the common person`s opinion. It is in contact with police that most criminal legal matters begin. When faith in the correct operation of police starts to erode, faith in our society`s ability to function as a cohesive unit also begins to deteriorate. And so to today.

A look at the treetops of the Metropolitan Police and one would expect that an example of probity of the highest order would  exist.  After all, the very highest of government powers through the very highest of the government`s   investigatative organs are employed to ensure that the 16 officers appointed at Chief Constable rank which for the Met includes...

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Police: RESEARCHERS MUST BE ALLOWED INTO THE JURY ROOM

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace


A major "problem" with any justice system is that apart from those who are involved with its functioning and therefore derive their ability to put bread on their family`s table from its continuance, is that the majority of the public who are uninvolved in serious law breaking whether as witness or defendant rarely express any interest in the subject.   Their knowledge of the legal system and its many ramifications in a democratic society are derived from the various media available which now means the sometimes rabid utterings in Twitter or Facebook and the like.  Indeed that is one reason why I have written here not a few times bewailing the lack of old fashioned local newspaper court reporting and the corollary of my wish to see local live TV court reporting. However to return to the reality of today; what some would say is the bedrock of our justice system, the jury, is under severe criticism from both ends of the legal spectrum; judges and victims or their families.  On 27th April I referred to the...

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Police: THE INCREASING UNPREDICTABILITY OF COURTROOM DECISIONS

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace


Although it might be boring for regular readers to read again of my dismay at the lack of or reduced amount of newsprint analogue or digital  devoted to court reports today`s effort is an attempt to showcase however slightly items that might interest those who are themselves interested in what goes on in our courts. 

As training and common sense (the latter a factor which is frowned upon by the Ministry of Justice owing to the possible discriminatory connotation of the word "common" which might be unequal among some sections of the population) dictate it is at the very least unwise and at the worst most injuducial to criticise in public a fellow member of the bench however junior.  Indeed the chairman of a bench or a District Judge [MC] must not in any public remarks allude to a previous or future court`s decision which was or is likely to have been or to be out of his/her control. It would appear that HH Jason Taylor QC at Swindon Crown Court felt that either those unwritten rules did not apply to him or...

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Police: WHEN JURIES GET IT "WRONG"

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace


The NHS, the monarchy, the Spanish Inquisition and trial by jury without wasting my reader`s time by asking the question, have one thing in common: they are or were in the case of that Iberian organisation held to be sacrosanct for the societies that created them. The collapse of everything supported in those beliefs by those societies was the prediction of all who argued that their removal or modification would lead to a world of chaos or worse.  A cartoonist`s favourite backdrop of a sandwich board.......THE END OF THE WORLD IS NIGH....... perfectly sums up those believers` attitudes if change were to take place. The NHS is regarded almost in religious terms.  Attempts to improve efficiency without just a shower of money being thrown at it are viewed as contemptible especially by the wokes of the Left and the luvvies on the Right. The Catholic Church seems to have survived and even thrived subsequent to the definitive end of the Spanish Inquisition when the Spanish queen regent María Cristina de Borbón issued...

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Police: POUNDS HERE THERE AND EVERYWHERE

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace


My musings and thoughts on our courts lie only shallowly beneath my consciousness; hardly surprising since I had retired from my professional life for the last ten years of my magisterial life.  To add to that almost continual subliminal state I have almost been bewitched by the court proceedings in Minneapolis where the accused`s defence counsel has been bravely attempting to offer reasonable doubt by way of generalities opposed to scientific and factual evidence provided by the State of Minnesota. And then the cost in real money of a human life flashed along the billions of  neurons and glial cells supported by connective tissue  and as if by magic I was thinking of the half a billion to a billion pounds unpaid fines apparently a permanent feature  of our courts system.  In 2015, 866,137 people were given fines totalling around £213,611,000, according to the Magistrates' Association analysis of Court Service records. A year later magistrates imposed 902,320 fines adding up to £263,763,000. In 2017, 915,541 fines were...

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Police: WOKE IS A PERVERSION OF TRUTH

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace


With almost every passing day there is an incident, comment, statement, rebuttal, accusation, or response to any of the previous that includes the word woke. Being a retired magistrate with opinions of a dinosaur [according to some] it took me a while to really appreciate the implications of such a term.  So that we`re metaphorically on the same page I list below some definitions of that word kindly provided by Messrs Google Inc.

 “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)”, but today we are more likely to see it being used as a stick with which to beat people who aspire to such values"

"a slang term that is easing into the mainstream from some varieties of a dialect called African American Vernacular English (sometimes called AAVE). In AAVE, awake is often rendered as woke, as in, “I was sleeping, but now I'm woke.” 'Woke' is increasingly used as a byword for social awareness."

"a term that refers to awareness of issues that concern social justice and...

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Police: MUSINGS ON TUESDAY (MICRO OR MACRO?)

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace


In most observations there is the micro view and the macro view.  Either viewpoint can be illustrative of an opinion. Following are recent examples of the micro view of what purports to be our justice system in its totality.

Unlike other European countries the United Kingdom has no statute of limitations for any criminal offence except for summary offences (offences tried in the magistrates' court). In these cases criminal proceedings must be brought within 6 months.  

Last week a 74 year old male was jailed after being convicted of multiple charges of sexual abuse against a 14 year old boy between 1976 and 1979. There is no doubt that the victim`s trauma had a lifelong effect. We have no knowledge of the offender`s history; the report of what was a very unusual case is, unfortunately, truncated to say the least except that we know there was no need for a trial as he pleaded guilty.  Understandably the victim`s name is withheld but it might have been useful if the judge`s remarks including presumably the offender`s...

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Latest The Justice Of The Peace Stories

WHAT NO LEGAL AID REALLY MEANS
BELOW THE LEGAL SURFACE
ADDICTION REHAB AND A FAILED M.O.T.
SELECTING MET POLICE COMMISSIONERS
RESEARCHERS MUST BE ALLOWED INTO THE JURY ROOM

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