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, 23 March 2016

2 FOR 1 NO LONGER AN OPTION

A matter which should be of considerable interest to magistrates and District Judges (MC) was heard earlier this month at the High Court.  It revolved around the conviction of a defendant  for an offence in addition to its more serious level of  being religiously or racially aggravated.   It reminded me of a time when a friend of a family member with whom I discussed a court appearance many years ago had pleaded guilty to a section 5 public order offence and was summonsed weeks later to appear at the same court in relation to the same incident and was found guilty of the same offence racially aggravated.  He had had no legal representation and at the time of his first summons I suggested he consult the duty solicitor whose advice would be worthwhile.  I was shocked when he informed at a later time of the second conviction.  Well; it seems that procedurally he was in the same situation as the appellant in the reported case.  Morally I considered at the time that the CPS had behaved disgracefully in not informing him at the initial appearance of two charges.  If he had had better advice I`m certain the  initial guilty plea would have initiated the dropping of the more serious offence.  

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