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, 15 January 2016


Yesterday I posted of a sentencing decision by an English lay bench which was IMHO beyond comprehension.  It seems that such decisions are not confined to this side of the Irish Sea.  A District Judge in Northern Ireland dealt with a woman with two previous driving whilst disqualified offences by sentencing her to 220 hours community service and a five year ban for her third similar offence.  His remarks in the report seem in contradiction to the sentence.  The question is why she was not sentenced to custody suspended.  In addition why was she not subjected to the maximum of 300 hours payback. 

Is there a trend to minimising such motoring offences?  Is there pressure from higher sources?  Once again a magistrates` court does not seem to have public protection sufficiently high up in its sentencing decisions.

1 comment:

  1. I think that the sentencing District Judge made the right call, given all the mitigation - that she had sold her car and was addressing her alcohol problems. A suspended sentence order could have been made, yes, but that would have reduced the amount of Unpaid Work he could impose. In any case, it could not have been the maximum 300 hours as she was entitled to a third reduction for her prompt guilty plea, which would normally be 200 hours, but he added another 20 hours presumably to reflect the seriousness.