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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

I would imagine that most of us are suffering with "news headlines" fatigue given the seemingly endless story of corona virus and its effects on all of us so I hope that a brief glimpse at the activity of the misbegotten soul in this headline allows a moment or two of respite and a glimpse of depravity almost beyond belief.

Police: Chief Constable’s Dave Thompson’s blog: Surfacing for air

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

Last week the Chancellor announced a one year spending review. Governments generally like to set out their spending plans over a four year period. We have not been in this position now for just over three years which makes planning quite challenging. The COVID health and economic emergency and the Brexit deal make longer term planning quite hard.

The main headline you may have noticed was the pay freeze which will affect all staff earning more than £24K. I know how incredibly hard you have been working this year as part of the COVID emergency. I do recognise this has been a health-led emergency and how health service staff are rewarded is important. Carving out groups is difficult and divisive. A pay freeze is a pay cut in real terms and I am disappointed at this outcome for you all. Incremental progression is unaffected.

The announcement continued the commitment to the Police Uplift Programme. The force will have more than 500 additional officers by March 2021. The...

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Police: Killer Xmas

Written by RSS Poster McNoddy
I'm disappointed with Nicola Sturgeon.

Actually, I'm apoplectic at another example of her less than common sense based thinking.

Why in the name of all that is holy at Xmas time have she, Mark Drakeford and the unholy alliance across in the northern tip of the island of Ireland agreed to go along with the edict of the populist buffoon that is Boris Johnson regarding mixed households for the Winterval period?

After an extended period of variously enforced and structured restraint, why for goodness sakes are we to let loose the virus into our own homes and exponentially the greater community?

One (1) fecked up Xmas versus a very long deadly January when the inevitable strikes home and cripples the SNHS. 

I hear the repeated argument, if you can call it that, that folk were not going to pay any attention to the rules anyway.  Well that has been well and truly countenanced now.  Conversely, I had absolutely no intention of relaxing my guard and would have hoped sensible compassionate citizens would have done likewise.  There is hope on the horizon with...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

The inconsistencies associated with lockdown will no doubt be considered by future historians as a primary reason why the fatalities in this country per 100K population are in excess of those in USA where many states have virtually abandoned any attempt to control individuals` and businesses` activities and there has been only a half hearted attempt at control at the federal level. In mid July Boris Johnson was telling us it would be over by Christmas and now of course he has stated that by Easter things should be back to normal. The literally fatal flaws in the epidemiological and political analyses of this epidemic have been followed by a similar mish mash over the issuing and amount of fines by police.  Figures show 20,223 fines were issued for breaches of coronavirus restrictions in England and Wales between March 27 and October 19. More than a half of police forces have not issued a single fine for the non wearing of face masks. Since the pandemic began only...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

From time to time I have reported here on the goings on at the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office. Generally I`ve considered that in comparison to the decisions meted out to more senior members of the judiciary for their various indiscretions magistrates appear to be less benevolently dealt with. However recently there was the unusual matter of a magistrate on the supplemental list being sanctioned. Upon retirement magistrates are automatically transferred to this list. The do`s and don`ts for those individuals are as follows:-

Magistrates on the supplemental list can use the suffix JP, under the same guidance set out for sitting magistrates.

Magistrates can sign passport applications. They  must either work in (or be retired from) a recognised profession. Justice of the Peace is a recognised profession.

Neither retired magistrates nor those on the supplemental list can sign off statutory declarations.

Magistrate in the Supplemental List may not

Sit in a magistrates’ court to adjudicate on cases


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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

On November 3rd I posted on exceptional hardship about which I was critical insofar as the leniency offered by many benches when offenders offer mitigation not worth tuppence in order to retain their license. Earlier this month Arsenal footballer Mezut Ozil appeared in court pleading guilty to speeding on a motorway at 97MPH. It is unknown whether he has existing points on his license.  The penalty for his offence is a fine between 25% and 75% of his relative weekly income plus 3 penalty points. However from the brief reports it appears his representative feared that his client might lose his license because he seems to have offered an exceptional hardship defence. Sentencing is due later this month and that seems odd. In my experience the plea and submission of exceptional hardship is itself adjourned to a set date and sentence is pronounced immediately afterwards.  Once again an internationally famous figure appears to have been offered treatment above that for ordinary mortals. A section of the full...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

No individual magistrate has figured in this blog more than Richard Page ex J.P.  Perhaps when the matter of judiciary and religion is discussed few will have heard of him  and that is shameful because his sacking as a magistrate shames us all;  believers and non believers alike.  In order to appreciate fully the current state of affairs it might be helpful for interested readers to read the posts on the following dates:- 18/3/16, 29/3/16, 13/4/16, 1/8/17, 15/2/18, 1812/18, 7/1/19, 21/6/19 and 19/7/19. For speedier but not chronological access type Richard Page in search box.  Last Tuesday his case reached the Court of Appeal. It is likely that he has expended considerable sums to date on his claim that he was discriminated against in being sacked from his position on the bench for his Christian belief and for no other reason.  He is a  father of three and has fostered five more children.  In 2015 told the BBC, "My responsibility was to do what I considered best for the child and my feeling was therefore...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

It is often the case that usually law abiding citizens` contacts with police and the laws they enforce is at the wheel of a vehicle. Speeding on motorways used to be among the most common offences but since the decimation of police numbers and the consequent reduction in motorway patrols that number has reached a plateau or in other words many motorway speeders are getting away with it if they can avoid the cameras. Mobile phone use whilst driving in the last decade or so has been rising with increasing penalties for those apprehended. The numbers of those caught driving without insurance has fallen from 208,384 offences in 2007 to 92,343 in 2017. These offences and others attract penalty points and 12 penalty points attract disqualification or so the story goes.  Why is it then that latest enquiries show that 9349 drivers are still legally on the road with 12 or more penalty points on their license?  And the answer is exceptional hardship. At no time during my appointment was any advice on that...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

Given that I have unlimited time to offer my opinions here I am conscious that in order not to burden readers with what amounts to an essay or a newspaper column`s worth of diatribe I try to limit my outpourings to a reasonable length.  To that requirement the post of October 20th was an example. However there are so many other factors surrounding the magistrates courts system that I feel a further explanation is needed that justifies for me at least the title of that previous and this post.

Of  all the changes I witnessed during my tenure that which had greatest effect was the loss of all that was remaining of an "independent" magistracy.  My induction was as the end approached.  Magistrates courts committees were disbanded and in came Her Majesty`s Court Service.  That was an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and was responsible for the administration of the civil, family and criminal courts in England and Wales. It was created by the amalgamation...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

Those who spend several of their precious minutes reading this blog obviously have more than an average interest in the law, lawyers, magistrates` affairs and other associated practitioners within all the permutations of what is still known as our justice system.   It would then be no surprise that some or many of you will have read on social media and in myriad local print media that the Ministry of Justice is advertising for magistrates. Ten years ago when there were about 30K magistrates servicing about 300 courts that would have caused headlines in those self same media.  Today with the number of courts literally halved, the number of magistrates has reduced by 57%. In 2013 there were 149 District Judges (MC) and DDJs. Currently there are 207 i.e. about one for every magistrates court; double the ratio as in 2013. In the ads however, applications are requested thus, "If you're aged 18-70 & can offer 14 or more days a year, we want to hear from you! Full training is provided."...

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