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, 22 May 2015


As an active Justice of the Peace I was asked, as are many others, to consider sitting in the family court.  I rejected the approaches on the basis that I preferred to sit in the judgement of adults who might or might not have committed criminal acts. I preferred to exercise my limited abilities where any error on my part would be balanced by the views of two colleagues and failing that by a judge and two colleagues in crown court. Thinking in a similar format I have occasionally pondered how a split bench of three justices could deliver a verdict of guilty beyond reasonable doubt or to use the recognised parlance; proved beyond reasonable doubt. But that`s a post for another time. And that leads me to consider the details published this morning of the verdict last year at Liverpool Crown Court of Martin Thomas who was found not guilty of  grievous bodily harm with intent against his baby daughter.  He was named this week by Mr Justice Peter Jackson at the family division of the High Court as indeed being responsible for the baby`s injuries. Susan Jacklin QC,  chairwoman of the Family Law Bar Association was quoted in comments on the original verdict, 'The jury did not say that he did not do it — they said: “We are not satisfied he did it on the burden of the proof”.’  In other words the jury found the case against him not proven and this is not the first and won`t be the last time such verdicts leave unanswered questions.

Game set and match for the Scottish verdict!

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