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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Friday, 29 August 2014

EXCEPTIONAL HARDSHIP!!!!!!!!!! YOU MUST BE JOKING



On August 25th I commented on Freddy Flintoff`s collision with the courts with regard to a speeding allegation.  Contrary to my prediction he appeared before a bench in Carlisle and not a District Judge. My title "One Law for Them..?"  was apt but not as I had foreseen.  I  commented on “exceptional hardship” on January 31st and June 30th.     This is the argument that Mr Flintoff`s representative yesterday  argued successfully.  Bearing in mind there is only the news report upon which to make comment I must say I am appalled by my colleagues` decision to accept the argument.  In very very simple terms it is IMHO an argument that wealthy people  can rarely substantiate.  The term hardship refers to hardship caused to others than the offender and it encompasses situations  where that  offender`s inability to drive for the proscribed period  is relevant.  For a person of means,  any and I mean any  such inconvenience can be overcome by the employment of a driver.  There is quite rightly a difference in the application  of the hardship “get out of jail free” card between those of average income  and the wealthy.  The former might be unable to afford taxis to ensure eg  a sick person who is reliant upon the offender can attend hospital appointments or other similar arguments.   An individual who can drive around in a Bentley and who is recognised as very wealthy can easily afford to employ a driver or contract a taxi service to substitute for the temporary status of being disqualified.  I have to admit to being appalled by this decision.  It brings the law into disrepute and the bench chairman`s reported remarks are completely misplaced;   David Johnson, chair of the bench, said: "Because of your position, the fact that you are well known, clearly the impact has to be on others, more than you yourself."  No doubt in another court at another time an offender whose plea of exceptional hardship is refused would have a right to comment, “So I`m not as famous as Freddy Flintoff....”.    To say I am dismayed would be an understatement.

3 comments:

  1. You weren't in the retiring room, so why are you 'appalled' by the bench's decision? The Times today makes it clear a ban would affect his charity work, but he won't be able to use that excuse again:

    "JPs at Carlisle Magistrates’ Court accepted that a ban would amount to exceptional hardship because of the effect on others who rely on the 36-year-old’s extensive charity work, as well as the privacy of his three children.

    "Flintoff’s solicitor, Michael Neofytou, told the court a ban would also affect his media work - with the defendant scheduled to be filming a show in Northern Ireland tomorrow, a “road trip” where he drives a fish and chips van powered by the van’s cooking fat.The Ashes winner was warned that he would not be able to use the same exceptional hardship reasons again in court if he was caught speeding again in the next three years."

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    1. His charity work would have been unaffected by employing a driver.........I am appalled and have made my reasons clear.

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  2. Agree totally with the views expressed in the original topic.

    Fame isn't relevant. Filming work isn't either. Charity work can be adjusted/rescheduled/otherwise accommodated.

    It never ceases to amaze me how these drivers suddenly recognise the importance of their licence but never though to protect it by driving in a responsible manner in the first place, thus avoiding the possibility of a ban. In other words, those who really believe that exceptional hardship would be incurred to third parties have least excuse of all.

    He got away with it , plain and simple.

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