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 If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Monday, 11 August 2014

BREATH OF FRESH AIR






Part of the stimulus doing this job when time wasting and inefficiencies can rob the soul of any meaning is hearing from colleagues or reading of a procedure which has not previously been encountered.  It is of course of greater note when interesting legal argument is presented on an issue.  One example was during a recent sitting when counsel for the defendant applied for permission to refer to a newly arrived document in true Perry Mason style which he told us would go a long way to exonerate his client. After hearing more details and comments from our legal advisor we indicated that he could begin to cross examine the complainant basing such upon some information in the document.  It soon was apparent that the details being explored from the document which had been presented in the civil court on an entirely different matter were a step too far.  We cleared the public gallery and extensive argument was held on how the case should proceed. With the agreement of all parties we decided to go part heard until the judge sitting on the civil matter could make a decision on whether the document could be used as a basis for cross examination  in the magistrates` court thus revealing hitherto private information to a public gallery entitled to view proceedings.

When sentencing guidelines often suffocate original thought processes an opportunity to participate in and listen to detailed argument is like a breath of fresh legal air.


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