One aspect of the job that one quickly learned was whilst not necessarily parroting pronouncements like a ventriloquist’s dummy one must be somewhat circumspect in anything one said from the bench whether eg it was the manner in which an informal warning was given about an offender`s future behaviour or an explanation in rather simple terms to somebody whose comprehension might have been slightly wanting. It would certainly have been beyond my personal remit to have followed the example of Deputy District Judge [MC] Bennett at Westminster Magistrates` Court (The Times behind its paywall) who declared from the bench a few years ago after having found guilty of careless driving a lorry driver whose offending caused very serious injury to a cyclist, that he would be writing to Mayor Boris Johnson to consider the layout of the accident location to improve safety for cyclists.
It would be interesting to know whether my reticence was common or not amongst colleagues. What legal advisors might have said in such circumstances would have been another matter indeed. In the light of court changes commented upon here recently it will become necessary IMHO for chairmen to be more forthright in handling certain court situations. They must have confidence in their ability to determine which such situations require intervention and those when the advice would be to zip it!