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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Wednesday, 28 October 2015

FIXED PENALTY? PAY UP OR APPEAL BUT DON`T IGNORE

It is an underlying principle of justice being done and being seen to be done that penalties from the most trivial of offences to the most serious must be proportionate.  Indeed a purpose of  sentencing guidelines is that culpability of offender,  harm done to victim or society and an offender`s means excepting of course the criminal courts charge should normally be considered in reaching a sentencing decision.  When it comes to litter, as with parking offences, means of offender are irrelevant in the fixed financial penalties imposed.  Rich and poor must pay the same.  In the case of Havant Borough Council the website makes perfectly clear the "whys and the wherefores" of dropping cigarette ends in the street.  Milton Keynes does not appear to have the same openness with its citizens or those who walk its streets.  One such,  Tiffany Cobb, found out to her cost.

The report fails to say whether the offender attended. I would hazard a guess to say she did. The offence is Level 4 (max. fine £2,500).  I dare say if she doesn`t pay a means court will be her next appearance.  Offenders like this lady who don`t pay are those who make the headlines a year after conviction, "Litter lout sent to prison for 7 days" and get the Howard League joyously  enraged. 

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