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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Saturday, 30 August 2014


A recent sitting was unusual in that two cases had unusual features  to say the least.  Kylie had just turned eighteen when she appeared on a charge of breach of a community order; namely a tagged curfew which began daily at 9.00p.m.  She admitted the breach which had occurred when she was still a youth.  Her representative, however, took us through her recent history as far as it was relevant.  Her current residence was at the home of the  third foster mother she had had in as many years.   He told us that she had been waiting outside the address since 8.55p.m. for the arrival of the foster mother.  She arrived eventually at 11.00p.m.  He told us that Kylie was not allowed to have her own key.  When we expressed some surprise our L/A was quick to tell us that we could not comment as these (the matter of keys) were the rules of the house and that they were to be obeyed.  We allowed the order to continue.

The other case was the sentencing of a persistent thief whose favourite target was rather old cars whose security systems were virtually  non existent but contained tempting items in the interior.  The unusual feature was that we were also presented with an ASBO which would have prohibited  him from touching a car for the following three years.  It must be at least five years or more since I had last been involved in a similar matter of considering an ASBO.  The prosecutor`s manner was such that granting such an ASBO would be almost a forgone conclusion.    We duly sentenced the offender to custody suspended but declined to grant the ASBO owing to its  one and only term; “touching” which we felt was unduly onerous especially with regard to the substantive disposal.  Our L/A was also surprised but wisely made no further comment.   I doubt I will listen to another ASBO application before they decide I`m too senile to do this job any more.

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