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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Monday, 2 September 2013

DRESSED FOR COURT?



A question for colleagues; does the attitude or apparel of a defendant have any influence on the manner in which his/her evidence is considered?  From time to time it is obvious that  the person in front of us, statistically likely to be  male,  has made an effort to be “presentable”; dark suit and a white shirt with tie.  So far so good but what about at the other end of the sartorial scale?  Someone brought in having been remanded overnight in the cells might not be responsible for appearing looking like a dog`s breakfast.  My own words to a defendant in the witness box with hands in pockets would be along the lines of, “ With your hands in your pockets some might think you have no respect for this court and that would not be a good way to continue.”

However when in court answering to bail or a summons should somebody be criticised for showing disrespect to the court because he presents with no regard to the occasion?  It seems that at Hull Crown Court Judge Jeremy Richardson QC thought that the defendant before the court was so poorly attired that he needed to be punished for his lack of respect for the court and promptly had him put in the cells for three hours. 

A brief report is available here.

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