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, 23 January 2015

NO RELAXATION ON UNREPRESENTATION



There cannot be a single Justice of the Peace who has not been aware of the increase in the numbers of unrepresented defendants appearing in his/her court having pleaded not guilty.   Many such cases with the help of legal assistance would have had an opportunity to consider that plea and perhaps changed it before trial.   From my own experience the rise  in the numbers of such defendants has led to the increasing necessity for legal advisors and bench chairmen to intervene in the process particularly when defendants are in the witness box and when they are  attempting the cross examination of crown witnesses.     This impediment adds enormously to time estimates for such trials.  It is to be hoped that it does not lead to miscarriages of justice.  When, as is increasingly the case, interpreters are used the process can become quite burdensome for all concerned especially the defendant.  It was therefore refreshing to see that a respected media outlet, The Bureau of InvestigativeJournalism, has highlighted the problem.  Nobody in the Ministry of Justice is going to pay a blind bit of notice but nevertheless such reporting should be warmly welcomed by those who currently remain silent.

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