Now that I am retired having been many years a magistrate with a long awareness of the declining freedoms enjoyed by the ordinary citizen and a corresponding fear of the big brother state`s ever increasing encroachment on civil liberties I hope that my personal observations within these general parameters will be of interest to those with an open mind. Having been blogging with this title for many years against the rules of the Ministry of Justice my new found freedom should allow me to be less inhibited in these observations.
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Thursday, 18 October 2018
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 Devon, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, North Wales, and Warwickshire. An obvious PR exercise against austerity but how much did it cost and by whom was it sanctioned?
Monday, 15 October 2018
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.
Saturday, 13 October 2018
Friday, 12 October 2018
Altogether this year twelve Justices of the Peace have been removed from the magistracy the majority for failing to sit the minimum meagre requirement of a half day every fortnight; a schedule which does not allow the skills or knowledge necessary to be embodied in a lay magistrate sitting as a winger and is scandalously too little for a chairman to acquire the skills required. These numbers are not unusual. Every month JPs are thrown out for their unwillingness to devote the time required; a commitment that every appointments committee must surely emphasise. So why does it happen? It is a total waste of time and money to appoint and train somebody who fails at such a predictable hurdle.
Like so much else within the MOJ`s empire the magistracy I believe is slowly being allowed to whither on the vine. When it finally is killed off in its traditional form our legal system will be so much the poorer.
Wednesday, 10 October 2018
Not being sufficiently techie the link below should enable access of pdf. document.
The Management of Prisoners that present a risk of escape or violence ...
Tuesday, 9 October 2018
Wednesday, 3 October 2018
Most generally law abiding citizens come into contact with police only for traffic matters. Police constables having survived intensive scrutiny to be accepted, with their extensive training in the classroom and on the job learn how to handle the sensitive interface between them and the public; whether a firm warning is sufficient right up to the powers of arrest. My experience in practice and whilst on the bench is that PCSOs lack such judgement. That`s not surprising considering the low level of academic requirement and a starting salary of £19,500 maximum. Now these assistant police officers by any other name are being given enhanced powers by a constabulary which Her Majesty`s Inspector of Constabulary concluded was below the "must do better" level of a school report card.
This is the time we live in when a former home secretary applying the rules of austerity recently agreed with the then 2018 home secretary Amber Rudd that rising crime bears no relationship to the decimation in the numbers of police officers and that government funding had increased.
Never was the phrase "government that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing" more applicable.........with apologies to Oscar Wilde.
Monday, 24 September 2018
Thursday, 20 September 2018
On 14th June I posted on the MOJ`s search for a "national leadership magistrate". Since then all but one regional leadership toads have been appointed.
If there are any doubters that the end of the magistracy as it has been known for over 600 years is on the horizon they should re-examine the political history of the organisation and its ancillary duties over the last twenty years. I made my first of many comments on the demise of an independent magistracy almost as soon as I began blogging as Justice of the Peace in 2009 (at a now defunct site). This total potential control by HMCTS surely points to the eventual wiping out of the Magistrates Association as a point of influence. But what kind of person signs up to be a government lackey? I can only assert that those with the attributes to be politicians or regional leadership magistrates are the very people whose personalities indicate that they should not actually do those jobs. I term this the paradox of personality.
Wednesday, 19 September 2018
The only offence I can perceive is to the common sense of police officers and to the tax payers of Leicester. That wonderful sixties blues band The Animals had it just right; "Don`t let me be misunderstood".
Tuesday, 18 September 2018
“Legally two cases stand out. The first at the beginning of the year; a case of two black defendants being accused of causing harassment, alarm and distress to two police officers with three other officers as witnesses. We decided there was no case to answer. This was my first trial. It was a rude awakening to how the police can operate against “short tempered” innocent blacks and how the rules governing the threat to use CS gas were disregarded. I wonder if the defendants considered that a white, middle class middle aged bench believed their story to the exclusion of the police evidence and whether it was a topic amongst their friends or family that might indicate that the courts were not biased against them”.
The above sitting was prior to the murder of Stephen Lawrence.