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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Thursday, 11 February 2016

NOTE TAKING IN COURT

An essential part of the remit of a winger on the bench is to be on the lookout for any untoward activity in the court, particularly in the public gallery.  Such activities would include hostile actions or apparent threats or advice to a witness, talking, use of camera or mobile phone etc etc.  One action that should not cause a bench member any concern is that of an individual, wherever s/he might be sitting in the courtroom, taking notes.  Apparently a crown court judge in 2014 thought differently. HHJ Crowther QC at Cardiff Crown Court threatened a note taker with being in contempt of court. Recently the decision of the Divisional Court decided that in general terms open justice  must be the default position.  

This should be ingrained in the grey matter of all J.P.s particularly those who take the middle chair.  Legal advisors who often take the most conservative position available on controversial matters should also take note.
 

1 comment:

  1. That will teach me, to open my big mouth.......I had turned to the Crown Prosecutor's barrister from DPP, Justice Ministry, after Lord Justice Burnett and Mr Justice Sweeney had handed down a favourable response, to congratulate Mr Douglas-Jones for a 'damned good fight'.

    The Welshman, it turned out, had been a Taunton School prefect, no less but fortunately in between Michael, Christopher, Anthony et moi and my son, Gerald! ...more on mauricejohnkirk.wordpress.com and face book

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