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.

Comments are usually moderated. However, I do not accept any legal responsibility for the content of any comment. If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016


Another J.P. who blogs with astute observation referred on May 21st to dealing with contempt of court; a subject which has been known to cause  legal wires to buzz.  I`m sure many former colleagues have their own stories. 

My favourite such recollection was after sending somebody down for six weeks I was told, “I`ll get you; you cunt”. The offender was told to say no more or he would be in bigger trouble and to go with the officers. Immediately his lawyer stood up and enquired with half a grin on his face if a written apology would help. He was told if indeed his client could write and the apology fitted the circumstances having it before the bench prior to 1.00pm might save his client additional time inside. At 12.50pm it was presented to us; an unctuous apology in childish handwriting. At 1.50pm preparing for the afternoon sitting in the same courtroom our L/A asked me for the defendant’s apology so that it could be put in the court file. As I was going to keep it as a souvenir I enquired why she wanted it. “ If you`re found with a knife in your back sir, we`ll know who to look for”.

Perhaps we have less dignity to stand upon than our senior colleagues; perhaps we have learned to ignore the mouthings from those who appear before us……does that in any way diminish respect for the law and the legal system in the eyes of the public? If the answer is in the affirmative then we should be less reticent about applying the law of contempt.


  1. Hi, Can you give me a link for the other JP blog please? i find this topic very interesting. Thank you. George

    1. Glad to oblige

  2. In our early magistrates' training we were told the story of a nervous young PC giving evidence in court for the first time, when he was asked to repeat exactly what the defendant had called him. "He called me a worship, your bastards," came the response.