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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Tuesday, 11 August 2015

POLITICAL MYOPIA

As I have posted here more than once 70% of acquisitive or violent crime is considered to be caused by addiction to drugs and/or alcohol.  This is not "hot" news.  All those in relevant government departments know it; the medical profession knows it..........it is indeed common knowledge.  Any sane or rationally governed society would make provision for the unfortunates who cause such damage to themselves and a wider society and by that criterion we are certainly not a sane or rational society.  Examples are before the courts every day of the week.  However when a chairman in a magistrates` court makes an announcement like this to an admitted alcoholic offender I truly despair;   "This idea of drinking and being drunk in a public place is beginning to be a problem. However, we're going to fine you for this matter today. and the costs are going to be considerable."  I realise the sentencing options are limited.  From the sparse court reporting we have no information on the offender`s previous history but it is unlikely he was of previous good character.  

There are hundreds of thousands of offences annually from the simple as above to the most serious arising from drink/drug addiction.  All the asylums and large publicly owned buildings closed in the last two decades to be converted into luxury flats or other developments were worth their weight in much more gold than their sales or the sellers realised. I suppose that with politicians`  myopia, having a five year horizon and their own re-election  their first consideration we can expect nothing better.

2 comments:

  1. Well I think from the headline and opening sentence in the article you can be sure it wasn't his first offence.

    I wonder what you would have done though? Are you misreading the Chairman's remarks? They fined him £37. Was the remark actually as much frustration at the unavoidable costs - £255 - for a person of no fixed abode. As I understand it those costs would have been the same for any disposal (barring an absolute discharge).

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  2. Courts can IMHO do nothing about drunk and disorderly convictions. Fine only (Band A, the lowest), plus charges; street drinkers and similar alcoholics rack them up, often monthly or more. Having generally spent the night in the cells, the solution is often to deem the fine served as to do otherwise simply racks up unpayable fines.

    This is a social, not a criminal problem.

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