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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Sunday, 31 August 2014

MAGISTRATES` SENTENCING POWERS TO BE INCREASED



I hadn`t intended to put finger to keyboard this morning.  A close relative can`t make up his mind whether I am a geek, an anorak or a nerd but the news that the government intends us to have sentencing powers increased from 6 months to 12 months custody is interesting having been mooted for a decade or more.  The Times headline says it all; this proposal is geared to “saving money”  and creating yet another headline for Chris Grayling as opposed to any sense that the administration of justice will be more efficient or equitable for all concerned parties.  However the nerd enclosing  my geekish mind cloaked within its anorak finds the anticipated change somewhat perplexing.  On the assumption that the Sentencing Council is not going to suddenly increase the maximum custody limit for hundreds of offences from 6 to 12 months just where are  all those offenders going to be coming from.  I presume some current offences designated as either way will be those the custody limit of which will bear the increase when tried summarily.   In a nutshell some driving offences and theft seem to be the candidates where the saving will be made.  The other main offences tried by magistrates are common assault, alcohol related offences  and lower level drug offences.  It is highly unlikely IMHO that there would be any changes for them.

Perhaps somebody qualified to comment can offer some suggestions?  That does not include the advice that I should get out more.

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