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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Monday, 3 November 2014

EACH ACCORDING TO HIS MEANS OR NOT



Motoring  courts can vary from the sublime to the ridiculous; from the rational to the ludicrous.  Two matters of speeding in the absence of the defendants who had submitted guilty pleas and mitigation were withdrawn by a most reasonable prosecutor owing to admitted inefficiencies in processing the cases.  Two non appearance guilty pleas to speeding at 37MPH in a 30MPH zone were illustrations of all four previously written adjectives.  A lawyer represented the absent Mr A and explained that his client had not filled in the form where income is requested because he was a very wealthy man whose  income varied from absolutely enormous to beyond belief.  He was some top flight fund manager.  He had been driving a 2014 Ferrari at the time.  Being a level 3 offence and having pleaded guilty he was fined £666 plus costs and surcharge and 3 penalty points.  The way the spirits direct such matters the very next non attendee, Mr B, with his guilty by post letter had written that although he was offered a Fixed Penalty Notice he was unable to accept it because being on benefits he had no spare money.  We assumed his income at £110 and fined him £35.00 with costs and surcharge bringing that sum up to £140.00 plus the iniquitous 3 points. He might have been better off borrowing the £100 for the speeding ticket from Wonga.

There are some who consider that such disposals do not reflect each according to his means.  I leave you, the reader, to judge.

3 comments:

  1. "bringing that sum up to £140.00 plus the iniquitous 3 points. He might have been better off borrowing the £100 for the speeding ticket from Wonga."

    Almost certainly not. On top of the 4+ months or so "interest free" whilst the case was pending, I assume you gave him time to pay (or will do if so requested) £10 / fortnight is quite a common rate for those on very low incomes. So he'll have 6 months to pay his £140. In contrast Wonga will have racked up £140 from a £100 loan after 34 days; and by six months it would be about £480.

    I'm sure some "desperate" people have resorted to Wonga to pay fines and avoid court - if only they realised that the court is there to be fair to all manner of people and thus not excessively punitive either.

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  2. As a Scottish JP I see a lot of road traffic cases. If a defendant comes before me and has not been able to pay the conditional offer due to financial constraints i.e. being on benefits, then I do not see why they should be further punished. I will, almost always, restrict the fine to that of the conditional offer and offer "time to pay". The ubiquitous points will, of corse, be imposed as normal.

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    1. "The ubiquitous points will, of corse, be imposed as normal." And there's another expense.......... greatly increased insurance premiums....which the government will take 10% of ! Always follow the money to find out "Who benefits"

      It always seems to be government, using Magistrates to fill their coffers.

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