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Police: BENCHES ARE NOT HANGERS AND FLOGGERS

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
There are single issue lobbyists financed often by wealthy individuals whose purpose in life, in addition to their salaries, is to discredit the benefit of short custodial sentences whilst at the same time to manipulate statistics to indicate that such sentences are failing, expensive and no deterrent to offenders. In addition magistrates are often accused of being too ready to sentence recidivists to immediate custody notwithstanding guidelines being followed. This case earlier this week before Swindon magistrates is an example of what really happens at every similar court every day countrywide. Benches go out of their way, sometimes in defiance of guidelines, to avoid sending offenders to immediate custody.  Indeed such decisions often bring unwelcome criticism from members of the public insofar as they are seen to be "too soft".  With the latest report on the utterly appalling conditions in our prisons a prison sentence must be a test of strength, mental and physical, for many in order to have a chance of...

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Police: DIVERSITY IN THE JUDICIARY

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
Latest judicial diversity statistics are published today.


Police: ACCUSATIONS OF VERBAL ABUSE CAN BE AN ABUSE OF FREE SPEECH

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace



“Verbal abuse is the use of words to cause harm to the person being spoken to. It is difficult to define and may take many forms. Similarly, the harm caused is often difficult to measure. The most commonly understood form is name-calling. Verbal abuse may consist of shouting, insulting, intimidating, threatening, shaming, demeaning, or derogatory language, among other forms of communication.”

It was brought home to me over twenty years ago in a fairly crowded retail unit in a town with the dubious reputation at the time of being just about the most racist place...

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Police: PROHIBITION UK STYLE

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
From their very inception I was concerned at the implications of that wonderful, so they said, innovation; the ASBO.  Having to impose such I did my judicial duty but without enthusiasm. ASBO was but the first of many so called exclusion notices. For the last ten years constables have had the authority to issue a written exclusion notice to anyone considered to represent a "risk of disorder", even if they are not drunk or have committed no offence. The aim is to enable the police to stop violence escalating by immediately removing potential troublemakers from the scene. As a matter of interest David Davis, the shadow home secretary at the time,  said the Conservatives would consider backing the proposals but said Labour "has form for making headline-grabbing announcements only to fail to follow them up"; another politician`s words coming back to haunt him.......as if they care; it`s happening all the time. Soon to follow was the CRASBO; criminal anti-social behaviour order.  I sat on the very first hearing in this country where such...

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Police: A NEW MAGISTRATE`S OPINIONS

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
It would seem that MOJ has decided that more Justices of the Peace need to be appointed. The article in this local newspaper is one of many similar I have read over the last few months.  What does strike me, however, is the quote of a new magistrate when commenting on a decision of custody, "There were long discussions about whether it was the right thing to do, what purpose it would serve and the impact on both the defendant, and of course the wider community and the victim". 


He does not mention Guidelines or public protection except for "impact". I also consider it questionable if "the right thing to do" is part of a structured sentencing exercise.  As far as I am aware the victims` considerations should not inform sentencing. But then having been appointed 20 years ago my attitudes, training and experience might now be considered anti deluvian if I were still active. 


Police: ONLY IN AMERICA

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace


Some might have heard of this case but if you haven`t I have to tell you I have seen and heard of it from two sources so it must be true……..mustn`t it??????? For those who have served on jury...this one is something to think about...Just when you think you have heard everything!! Do you like to read a good murder mystery? Not even Law and Order would attempt to capture this mess. This is an unbelievable twist of fate!!! Are you sitting comfortably boys and girls and then I`ll begin.

At the 1994 annual awards dinner given for Forensic Science, (AAFS) President Dr. Don Harper Mills astounded his...

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Police: BENCH CHAIRMAN OUT OF ORDER

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
Earlier this week I posted on the advantage of having in England as is the choice in Scotland of a third verdict after trial; namely not proven. Before discussing this further let me make plain the main disadvantage antagonists offer on this subject; the possibility of an innocent defendant being smeared by the underlying assumption that he was really guilty but proof was lacking. I suppose that is a form of an oxymoronic argument.  The advantages on the other hand are seemingly quite apparent. Benjamin Franklin inventor of bifocals and a signatory to the American Constitution in 1776 is quoted as saying, "that it is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer, is a Maxim that has been long and generally approved".  Its basic concept has been repeated many times.  My opinion is that that reasoning would be better served by the availability of a verdict of not proven.  Indeed the tale of woe in the last twenty years where the verdicts in high profile trials have been overturned on appeal...

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Police: FREE PRESS AND DIFFERENCES OF OPINION

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
From time to time threats, some overt and others surreptitiously, are made to the freedom of the press. I stumbled across two current reports on the state of the forensic service in Scotland.  On reading them it was sometimes difficult to recognise that they were describing the same events. See for yourself....."Police Professional" and "Holyrood" magazine.


Police: ETHNIC DIVERSITY//THE FAKE NEWS ON THE MAGISTRACY

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
Quite frankly I am sick and tired of, in effect, being part or having been a part of an aged ethnic majority imposing sentences on ethnic minority offenders in excess of similarly guilty white offenders: sick and tired not to say disappointed with the continual implication that the magistracy is unfit to represent the society within which its members have been appointed to serve. Let me make one thing quite clear:- the idea propagated by these critics that local benches should represent local societies no longer holds water. Government by its actions in amalgamating courts and greatly  increasing numbers of District Judges(MC) with no local affiliation and specifically authorising JPs to sit nationwide if theoretically required  should put that argument to rest. Unfortunately it does not.  The same old untruth, or to use current terminology, FAKE NEWS, continues to be used to undermine what used to be an unequalled expression of a voluntary giving back to society of experience, time and knowledge by...

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Police: EXCEPTIONAL HARDSHIP IS NO LONGER EXCEPTIONAL

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
With regard to the possibility of being banned from driving as a "totter" there is no legal definition of "exceptional hardship"; a plea for a substitute sentence being imposed without a disqualification.  Many solicitors publish their own opinions on line as a marketing tool. This is just one example from many.  My general thinking processes when listening to such a plea were that if the offender was of such means that s/he could afford to employ a driver for the six month disqualification sentence then the exceptional hardship plea would not have been made out.  I clearly recollect two cases where very wealthy businessmen tried to make the argument: they failed. I do not know the circumstances of the offender in this case but if the bench did not consider whether or not he could afford a driver then they failed in their duty.  My impression over the years is that too many totters escape their deserts by weak benches being too easily persuaded by silver tongued lawyers.






Latest The Justice Of The Peace Stories

BENCHES ARE NOT HANGERS AND FLOGGERS
DIVERSITY IN THE JUDICIARY
ACCUSATIONS OF VERBAL ABUSE CAN BE AN ABUSE OF FREE SPEECH
PROHIBITION UK STYLE
A NEW MAGISTRATE`S OPINIONS

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