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.

Comments are usually moderated. However, I do not accept any legal responsibility for the content of any comment. If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Saturday, 9 August 2014


The Ministry of Justice is at it again; more interested in headlines than the pursuit of a rational ethos in the application of all that pertains to an indispensible branch of government.  Not content with hammering errant motorists (the majority of payers) with a so called victims surcharge it has now levied such charges on those receiving immediate custodial sentences at the magistrates` court.  Such offenders are more than likely to have had an alcohol and/or drug problem as the basis of their offending and to be economically living from day to day at society`s lowest levels and as such be least able to pay a financial forfeit in addition to a loss of liberty.  The new rule will come in from 1 September, and will see those sentenced to 6 months or less ordered to pay £80 and £100 for those given between 6 and 12 months imprisonment by magistrates. It is expected it will apply to 43,000 cases per year. The government proclaims that “This change is the final reform pledged by the coalition in its bid to make offenders pay more to help their victims”.  I don`t sit in the youth court where existing financial penalties are often paid by parents who have lost control of their offspring.  Those who have been assaulted by their little darlings have been in the paradoxical position of having had to pay their little darlings` fines and surcharges.  Now those who have been victims of their children`s serious assaults warranting up to two years custody will have to pay the additional surcharge.  Kafkaesque is perhaps too simplistic a description of this “innovation”.

There is I believe some obfuscation where all this additional money goes.  It is somewhat similar to when the National Lottery was founded.  At the time we were assured that the cash raised would not be used for projects that required government funding but would be used for additional projects in the community.  Such was our collective gullibility at the time that we actually believed that.  There is no such charity as Victim Support registered with the Charity Commission but various organisations have been set up as per this site.  Perhaps the surcharge has been subject to audit by a non governmental organisation and perhaps not.  However with anything between half a billion and a billion pounds or more in fines, costs, compensation and this surcharge already uncollected  getting this money in would surely be a better use of any resources available at Petty France?


  1. Well, so much for Grayling banging out about the indecency of offenders leaving prison with on £46 in their pocket!!! Looks like they'll not even have this, more like nothing and a £34 debt!!

    That's going to help them resettle.

  2. It rather reminds one of the old joke - saving Your Worship's pardon - "What do you call a man who takes money off prostitutes: a magistrate!"

    Most people who are about to be sent down - unless they are former News of the World hacks or bent politicians - aren't going to have the money to pay this latest imposition, so it is pretty damn sure that it is yet another grandstanding publicity stunt by Team Grayling. The comments above regarding the 'victims' (parents of juvenile offenders who have been on the receiving end of some ABH) also being stung for the surcharge reveal that the whole farce is becoming just too bizarre for words.

  3. I suppose this is too obvious: Court sentences to prison, imposes the surcharge and then remits it as offender to be jailed. Guess Grayling must have spotted that.

    The sensible offender might well refuse to pay and accept an extra few days clink instead, through wilfull refusal.

  4. I agree. This kind of stuff makes the system look stupid.