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Police: PRESS DEPT. COSTS AT MINISTRY OF JUSTICE

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace


It seems almost daily that somebody or some group within the "legal umbrella" ranging from the Lord Chancellor to the retired criminal lawyer or barrister is explaining, discussing, excusing, justifying, castigating someone or some factor within that very same umbrella. The common basis for such verbal opinions is the simply dreadful state of what can be termed our criminal justice system. From prisons to police to probation and all stations en route there are practitioners complaining about the dearth of financial resources to do their job properly and a spokesperson of the Ministry of Justice, even the Lord Chancellor of the day him/herself, extolling the benefits even the beneficence of future policies sometimes in conjunction with the Home Office. Of late it has become almost a mantra that for some crime or other, usually initiated by a highly publicised heinous wrong doing, sentence will be increased.  It is not uncommon for the judiciary to be blamed in the first place as if it were responsible...

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Police: STATISTICS AND A SOCIETY UNDER STRESS

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace


The Ministry of Justice has much for which criticism is appropriate but one area where that criticism is rightly muted is in the collection of statistics. Apart from information on the numbers and outcomes of appeals at crown court against decisions at magistrates courts which have in the past been made available through Freedom of Information, almost everything that results from a court appearance is available by way of charts and numbers to satisfy the most fastidious statistician amateur or professional.  Being neither of those it is still possible as a mere observer  to find some interest. The year ended June 2021 is the latest in such releases. The section chart below is quite interesting.


In my experience many if not most lawyers advise clients facing an either way charge to elect trial at the crown court.  Of course not every defendant can afford the fees involved and many others just want to get the process over and done with as quickly as possible but nevertheless it is instructive to compare the...

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Police: Birmingham Stabbings

Written by RSS Poster Mental Health Cop

Many will remember the report of a series of stabbings in Birmingham in September 2020 – Jacob Billington sadly died, killed at random and seven others were seriously injured in the course of other random attacks across the city centre area and a man was arrested in subsequent days, prosecuted for murder and a number of serious woundings.  Yesterday, Zephaniah McLeod was sentenced for manslaughter at Birmingham Crown Court to (at least) 21yrs in prison for these offences and it’s obvious from victim impact statements how much carnage has been inflicted on the lives not only of the victims, but their families who are still looking for answers as to what happened and why.

Having handed down a lengthy prison term, the judge also stated Mr McLeod will be detained at Ashworth (high security) hospital “for as long as is necessary” and I thought a short-post to explain this sentence may be useful.  It’s almost certain (although not made explicit in media coverage) that he has been sentenced under s45A of the Mental Health...

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Police: Striking a Balance

Written by RSS Poster Mental Health Cop

Those of you who have read this blog since it began will know how Ive often bemoaned the fact that we keep reading and hearing the same things said over and over again in cycles which last over a decade.  When the Bradley Review (a wider ranging review of mental health and criminal justice, 2009) it was widely lauded and well received, quite rightly – but it many respects it just repeated much of what we already knew from the Reed Review (1992) and indeed from the Percy Review (1957).  They each had slightly different reason and focus, but ended up saying many of the same things about mental health and criminal justice.  Of course, we have also had review of the Mental Health Act specifically, the Richardson Review (1997) and more recently the Wessely Review (2018) which were not criminal justice centric, but touched upon those issues.

This week, a new Joint Thematic Inspection has been published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation, jointly endorsed by other inspectors for policing, CPS and prisons as well as the Care...

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Police: Threat, efficiency and improvement

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

This week we have seen the shocking events of the terrorism incident in Liverpool. The national threat level has been raised after two attacks in the last month. It is a timely reminder that this threat never goes away and all our eyes and ears are vital. I do not know anything more about the facts of the incident in Liverpool but what we are increasingly seeing is lone actors moving from self-radicalisation to attack. This can be much harder to detect and so, as we attend calls and jobs and move around as ordinary citizens, we need to be vigilant. We have a key role in gathering intelligence.

Last month I got to see around 1400 of you at the roadshows. I hope you enjoyed the event and learned a little and shared some of your views. Personally I found this round of roadshows to have been the best. Great questions from you all and some brilliant stands at the Expo. If you missed it you can find out more on Newsbeat. Thank you to all those who made the roadshows possible and everyone who came.  

We...

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Police: JUSTICE EVAPORATES WITH 8 JUSTICE SECRETARIES SINCE 2010

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace


To put it mildly, the justice system is in a mess. As will increasingly become apparent much of this mess as with so many other policies is being put down by government to Covid 19. Perhaps there other reasons one of which is that we are now on Secretary of State/ Lord Chancellor number eight since 2010. With only one of this number still clinging on to the greasy political pole and the current incumbent there as a demotion is it any wonder that justice, a pillar of any successful democracy, is crumbling before our very eyes. 

With Kenneth Clarke on his first appearance before the Justice Select Committee 25/7/2010 we saw what was below that "I`m a fair chap" image; " He was not fussed about competitive tendering (“we have enough lawyers” and there is “no lack of people wanting to come in”). “I haven’t made that many policy decisions yet”, he concluded." Further comment is available here. He was proud to tell the media that in that first austerity budget of the Coalition...

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Police: STOP AND SEARCH; THE FACTS

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace


"Stop and search" has become a phrase which is familiar to most people over the age of ten.  It is, perhaps, the most divisive of actions which the ordinary cop on the beat can take.  It is subject to very stringent rules about which most people especially those liable to be the object of such action have only partial knowledge.  It is also a topic about which individuals from Opposition shadow ministers to rabble rousing members of ethnic minorities make a great deal of heat but often very little enlightenment.  There can be very few of those who listen to, watch or google the news from any number of sources who are unaware that there seems to be an inordinate number  of young black boys or youths  killed by other young black boys or youths.  Indeed in some parts of London it might not be an exaggeration to call this an epidemic.  

What I have done for this post is to source some irrefutable government statistics on this thorny subject.  For those who have the interest and the time I hope it will be a worthwhile...

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Police: MAGISTRATES` MAJORITY GUILTY VERDICT

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace


Magistrates courts might arguably claim to be the first courts in England where the common person and the king`s law came into conflict. Depending on the circumstances such courts were sometimes held outside in public where the full power of the king through his judges could be demonstrated as a deterrent to those who would consider breaking his law. Paradoxically today  it could be argued that the magistrates courts system at the base of the courts pyramid far from being public is the most secretive of all.  I have in previous posts offered my opinion on the latest such example of secrecy embodied in the Single Justice Procedure.  There is, however, another facet of the system that has been commonplace for generations; the verdict after trial. Most cases at magistrates courts end in a guilty verdict (84%).  Of course that includes the many who plead guilty.  In 2004 there were approaching 200,000 trials; in 2019 that had reduced to 109,396 and owing to Covid in  2020 there were 57,388. Statisticians,...

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Police: MORE ON SINGLE JUSTICE PROCEDURE

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace


Almost half a million cases at magistrates courts are dealt with in private. It`s called the Single Justice Procedure. At the very least justice is not seen to be done. At worst it forms a basis on which a future government of a more authoritarian bent could extend this process and that is a road where blackness looms.


Below is from Hansard 



Judicial Review and Courts Bill

26 Oct 2021


Dominic Raab: ...introduce measures that use new technology to streamline procedures to strip out unnecessary in-person hearings and create more efficient processes for allocation of cases in the Crown court and the magistrates court. That will enable swifter resolution of low-level offences such as travelling on a train without a ticket or fishing without a licensed rod without the need for the time and...


magistrates : 1 Written Answer

Written Answers - Ministry of Justice: Reoffenders

26 Oct 2021


James Cartlidge: For the year ending March 2021, approximately 670 defendants were dealt with at the magistrates’ courts under SJP where...

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Police: MAGISTRATES ASSOCIATION REVEALS ITS WOKE APPROACH TO JUSTICE

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

The Kingdom of England can arguably be stated as having been founded in the last century of the first millennium perhaps a century after the founding of the northern part of the British Isles known as Scotland.  The 13th century saw the incorporation of Wales into the Kingdom of England. The Kingdom of Ireland was brought under English control between 1541 and 1691. A sixteenth century royal marriage led to the Union of the Crowns in 1603 and the Kingdom of Great Britain was created in 1707 leading to the formation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801.  The establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922 led to the current designation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 1927.  The underlying political sentiments of those involved particularly for the last 200 years have been that there is much more that unites us than divides us.  That is until the latter part of the last century.  Whether by benign neglect or the emergence of an anti...

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