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 If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015


As I recall, only once have I had a QC in front of me and that was in connection with a planning matter of some importance.  It is quite a story in itself when an individual of such exalted status appears before a magistrates` bench.  The fiancĂ©e of celebrity Stephen Fry had the benefit of such high level representation when he appeared before Cwmbran magistrates recently. There is a report in the Daily Telegraph.

There is as much similarity in the argument that a “short, sharp custodial sentence” is a waste of time as there is in the debate as to whether a seven day driving ban is any sort of punishment or deterrent in a matter of speeding.   Unless  a ban is of significant length; ie 28 days minimum,  my opinion is and has been that exceeding 100MPH on a motorway is worthy, all things considered,  of there being given serious thought to the imposition of 6 penalty points as the preferred option.  But then what do I know?


  1. Apart from your gender-bending - unless Fry's intended has changed sex he is his fiance, not fiancee - it has not been uncommon to see a QC defending a wealthy client whose driving licence has been at stake. I can think of four or five times we have seen that in our magistrates' court. Most memorably, a QC arrived late from London, puffed out his chest, pulled out his voluminous cuffs, and told the Bench he was ready to begin immediately, as he was due in the Crown Court in the afternoon. We told him his drink-driving case had been put back to 2pm, and that was that. Our resident judge later said we were quite right to do so, and that Crown Court would have to wait.

  2. If you exceed 100mph on the M25 - or just about any m'way in the South East - you should get the Nobel Prize.

  3. We regularly had the pleasure of listening to QC's presenting their case in matters of betting, gaming and alcohol licensing. One of the few opportunities to be intellectually challenged. No more sadly now that jurisdiction has been transferred from JPs to Local Authorities with consequences all too obvious on high streets throughout the country.

  4. What is it about motorists that gets magistrate in such a lather ? We seem to have become the new Enemy of the State. I for one am heartily sick of the war on the motorist being waged by government both central and local. Virtually all accidents on our roads happen at speeds well below the legal limit due to drivers not paying attention to the task in hand - DRIVING !

    Anyway, if any government or council want my cooperation in any matter when they are desperate for help, they can ask somebody else.

  5. "Anyway, if any government or council want my cooperation in any matter when they are desperate for help, they can ask somebody else."

    It seems to me your comment, Fras, exactly encapsulates the damage our self-serving politicians of all parties have done to our democracy.

  6. I've exceeded 100 mph on motorways on a great number of occasions. Occasionally up to 140 mph.

    With a suitably trained driver, in suitable weather conditions and suitable traffic conditions, in a well maintained vehicle, it is a totally undramatic event.

    Flashing blue lights are optional - but often not necessary.