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.

Comments are usually moderated. However, I do not accept any legal responsibility for the content of any comment. If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015


It seems that Lord Leveson is once again having a major influence on judicial procedures. We have no way of knowing whether or not his colleagues view the matters presented in a similar light.  What seems plain for all to see is that his high profile demands that government of whatever hue is elected in May will place his proposals at the higher end of its “must do” list.  As a magistrate and blogger my main interest in his recent report is that concerning the right of defendants to choose mode of trial in either way offences.  This allocation procedure was changed last year.  Theft to the value of less than £200 is now tried summarily only.  Indeed the second ever  post of my blogging attempts (at a previous host) in November 2009 was devoted to the subject.  Further posts on 26/10/2010 and 14/01/2013 seem prescient.  My opinion then and currently was not that of some crystal ball gazing individual with incredible foresight; it was held by the vast majority of my colleagues.  In other words it was in common parlance a “no brainer”.  If, as is almost certain,  his recommendation on limiting defendant choice of jury trial eventually comes into being it will not be a day too soon.


  1. That is the worst thing you have ever written.

    The right to jury trial is nothing to do with the amount of the alleged theft, but the value of the defendant's good name. It is a shame you do not understand this.

    1. Looks like Lord Leveson has got it all wrong then.

  2. Why do those who argue so vehemently for the right to a jury trial in preference to trial by a tribunal of three members of the public, not kick loudly against trial by a single DJ or DDJ? On this they have always been remarkably silent.

  3. @Anonymous, Because with the right to jury trial in all serious offences, it doesn't matter.

  4. But is theft of a 2p screw serious?