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, 14 May 2014

TRIALS ARE NOT FAIRY TALES

From childhood we are conditioned to fairy tales and “happy endings”; when the hero gets justice and the villain gets his comeuppance. When we begin to understand the world`s realities we appreciate a sense of satisfaction in these outcomes. However as we mature most of us realise that life is not a fairy tale and that some heroes don`t get justice and some villains get away with their villainy. So it is sometimes in court.

Recently we had a case where the outcome depended upon the evidence of two unsavoury characters who happened to be man and wife and a defendant whose tale of woe was such as to arouse sympathy in even the most hardened of magistrates. We were forced to accept the evidence of the complainants partly because the defendant however hard he tried just could not provide a telling response. Indeed subsequent to his sentencing we discovered that as had been alluded to in the evidence of the complainants our defendant had some weeks previously been found guilty in his absence of a strict liability driving offence occasioned by the actions of the complainants.

We suggested to him unofficially that an out of time application to appeal against that other sentence might be an action to consider.

For us the matter was a salutary reminder that the facts presented at trial were the basis of our decision making however disagreeable we might have considered the outcome.

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