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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Wednesday, 12 March 2014


It might be boring but it`s worth repeating; alcohol and/or drug dependence is responsible for around 70% of all crime in this country.  It`s also worth repeating that removing such people from the criminal justice system into a health care programme even without compulsion is sometimes frustratingly difficult.  Having regards to all that every day in every court in England a bench of magistrates has to decide on the appropriate disposal for one or more of those dregs of society.  Earlier this week it was my turn.  Martin  was 45 going on 60.  He had four pages of previous and many short jail terms for prolific minor offending.  His current address was a hostel in another town nearby.  He was before us for sentencing on assault, s.5 public order and criminal damage committed around a single incident.  His pre sentence report ran to eight pages and noted inter alia that for whatever reason his alcohol habit had never been specifically addressed by the courts.  We were told that he was awaiting his first payment from the benefits office, previous having stopped when he was homeless and or inside.  We decided that in addition to supervision and another order he should undergo an alcohol treatment requirement. It took us half a second to decide that it was a nonsense to impose costs.  So far so good but then we checked the law on so called victim surcharge and noted that we were legally required to impose such of £60.  Now £60 to many readers will buy a tankful of petrol or two theatre tickets or a ticket to Championship football match or………..  So this poor wretch has an amount which will wreck him to pay in 28 days.  The current Lord Chancellor and his short trousered advisors imposed this levy a couple of years ago so that “criminals” can contribute to society for their activities in a simply understood manner.  Previously it had been reserved as an addition to fines imposed.  Those sentenced to custody have more to pay.

If anything the M.O.J. has done since 2010 to persuade me that it is inhabited by aliens it is this iniquitous addition in the name of a just policy.  It is nothing but a feeble disguising of a truth;  that there are those in the Tory Party who are still red in tooth and claw.


  1. While accepting that it's extension in 2012 was under the Tory watch, let us not forget that the originator of this ridiculous tax was in fact good old NEW LABOUR. Let's give 'credit' where it's due eh?

  2. And don't forget the nonsense in Youth Courts where you can end up with social services who have a youth in their care having to pay VS to another arm of government.

  3. I refused to use the word Victim when imposing this tax and encouraged colleagues to do likewise.