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 If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Friday, 3 June 2016


Amongst the most disturbing of the many high profile criminal cases reported this week is that of Patrick Rock who was convicted of downloading indecent pictures of young pre pubescent girls.  As a retired J.P. my personal experience of such cases is necessarily very limited. They inevitably end up at crown court.  However I do recollect sitting on a few first appearances where barristers for the accused attempted to persuade us not to send to the higher court arguing that the images involved were grade 1.  My thoughts therefore on the Rock case are those of a middle class parent and member of society.

It seems that the judge`s decision to sentence him to the lowest possible outcome; a conditional discharge, was based upon the idea that Rock, being a public figure, would suffer personal, professional and public humiliation by the mere fact of being found guilty.  I find this perverse.  This man did not just operate on the fringes of power; he was an active participant at the very top.   He had previously advised  Michael Howard, when he was Home Secretary,  where he was responsible for developing policy to protect children from sexual abuse on the internet.   Therefore there can be no doubt that he was well aware as to what constituted illegal pictures of children.  That in itself is an aggravating feature of enormous significance.  He has been placed on the sex offenders` register for two years.  

The level of punishment imposed seems to be saying to the public that if you`re an important public figure loss of reputation is a sufficient outcome.  This strikes me as an affront to us all.  Justice must be even handed to the highest and the lowest in society.  When there seems to be deviation from that principle questions need to be asked as to whether the rottenness in our society with regard to children`s social services to which I have previously alluded has now extended under judicial cover to the courtroom.

No comments:

Post a Comment