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 July 2016

ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING FOR ADDICTS


From time to time I have opined that those addicted to drugs and/or alcohol who habitually are the cause of social disharmony or worse have entered that interface where they should be considered as requiring medical treatment and thus avoiding the courts` system. Compulsorily confining such individuals would be politically very difficult to say the least but sooner or later it will be recognised as the lessor of two evils. Almost every other day in every other magistrates` court an example will present itself of an individual where there is simply no sensible solution to this problem of totally unacceptable behaviour where members of the public  are in real or perceived danger. Such a person totally out of control appeared recently before magistrates in Cornwall and was, inter alia, made subject to a criminal behaviour order (CBO) specifying that, "he must not use swear words, make threats, use physical gestures, use visual representation, cause nuisance or obstruction that would cause any person offence, intimidation or distress directly or indirectly within the UK."
 

Is it really possible for a magistrates` bench to make such a crass order where the offender is set up for failure? Obviously the answer is in the affirmative. I can apprerciate that the bench was severely restricted in its options but all it will do is postpone the date of his next sojourn at Her Majesty`s pleasure at the taxpayers` expense. There must come a time, although with current political hurdles it is unlikely before 2020, when some bright new spark at Petty France in consultation with the royal colleges of medicine and senior judiciary explore realistic alternatives to prison for the likes of the offender discussed above whose sorry tale was reported in yesterday`s Metro.

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