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 If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.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, 30 September 2016
I can well understand the police position. Their numbers have dropped dramatically in the last six years from 143,734 to 124,066. Although perhaps some statistics tell us crime has fallen and others that it hasn`t IMHO reduced numbers of police officers mean that all the work that they do has to be rationed or performed over a longer period. And that includes investigation into criminal activity when the person arrested has yet to be charged. F.O.I. figures for the Met Police in 2014 show 4630 people were on bail for over six months.
Governments always seek scapegoats when publicly funded organisations or those contracted out have their budgets cut dramatically, way beyond expectations of increasing efficiency, and subsequently fail to perform to expected standards. The NHS, UK Border Agency as was, the Probation Service, the Prison Service are but a few examples. The police are no exception. Considering the prime minister`s previous office this meeting of contrary opinions is going to cause not a little dust to fly.
Thursday, 29 September 2016
I wonder if too clever by half criminal lawyers will line up this possibility of sporting despair when advising convicted clients of their chances on appealing sentence especially if sentence was by single District Judge..
Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Monday, 26 September 2016
The legal system, quite correctly, has provision to charge and if necessary take to trial those suspected of planning to commit disorder or worse. But this man is legally innocent of any such intent. By any standards it is a blot on the face of English justice that he has been made subject to such restraints in the same week that it was revealed that a Detective Superintendant was effectively sacked for allowing a murderer to incriminate himself willingly and without any coercion apart from the pleasure of smoking a cigarette whilst so doing.
The activities of police with regard to what is known all too widely as domestic violence and victim orientated investigations are becoming increasingly arbritary in their acting as judge, jury and executioner where the ancient concept of innocent until proved guilty has become an anachronism.
Friday, 23 September 2016
Further to my post of 13th September it seems that the world has really gone crazy. As if one Chief Constable`s lunatic suggestion isn`t enough the Police and Crime Commissioner in Leicestershire is considering jumping on to the equality and diversity bandwagon. Soon it will truly be Sharia law enforcement.
Wednesday, 21 September 2016
This seems to be a perfect example of offering a woman a sentencing option which would not be offered to a male offender.
Tuesday, 20 September 2016
The Chief Officers` Council; formally ACPO, in its collective wisdom has tried to persuade its overseers that cases of alleged misconduct against its members be kept secret. What arrogance! From Watergate to Whitehall it has been demonstrated that the cover up when revealed (as it usually is eventually) has greater ramifications that the misdeed itself. Those whom we pay and entrust to lead the enforcement of the law should be the most open of all to scrutiny when that trust appears, rightly or wrongly, to have been misplaced.
Monday, 19 September 2016
Truly in this regard the real target of police is in their virtual world where image supersedes reality.
Thursday, 15 September 2016
Today it is announced that on the spot fines for the offence of using a mobile phone whilst driving will rise from the current £100 to £150 and penalty points for car and van drivers will increase from three to four. With the numbers of police patrols both on foot and in car much reduced in our cities it is unlikely that more offenders will be stopped in what is the first step towards punishment.
The only way to curb this menace is to disqualify from driving for three months for first offence .
Tuesday, 13 September 2016
I find it disturbing that such thinking processes led to this police chief`s absurd posturing.
Tuesday, 6 September 2016
So it is not often that a transport company and/or the Justice Ministry is open and clear about its policies towards fare dodgers. The following is copied from a recent report of proceedings at Exeter Magistrates` Court:-
The maximum penalty for rail fare evasion with intent to avoid paying for a ticket is a £1,000 fine or three months’ imprisonment. The maximum penalty for failing to produce a ticket is a £500 fine.
However, statistics from the Ministry of Justice show the fines imposed by Exeter magistrates recently are well above the average for courts in England and Wales.
Last year 23,894 people were prosecuted for travelling by railway without paying the correct fare, failing to show a ticket or failing to give their name and address – a fall of 21 per cent on the previous year. Of those prosecuted, 18,680 were found guilty.
While 11 people were given a custodial sentence, the vast majority of defendants were fined. The average fine across England and Wales was £290 in 2015 – up from £91 a decade earlier.
A spokesman for train operator Great Western Railway said sentencing was a matter for the courts but added that the firm always attempts to deal with matters without court action.
He said: “Should individuals not respond to us the matter is referred to the criminal court process. Where a penalty fare is issued the passenger is written to and offered the opportunity to pay or to appeal the fine; a subsequent reminder is sent and then it is largely taken out of our hands and into the court process.
“To be consistent for all those travelling the rules are the same regardless of the fare amount and are set out in National Conditions of Carriage. It is the court’s decision and we would respect that decision.”
The GWR spokesman added: “Fare evasion costs the rail industry about £240 million a year. To make sure that customers who pay for rail travel are not unfairly subsidising those who choose to avoid paying, passengers are required to purchase a ticket prior to boarding a service from station ticket offices or from the available ticket vending machines.”
Where a passenger is unable to purchase a ticket prior to boarding – for example if a ticket office is closed and the ticket machine is broken – they are obliged to purchase a ticket at the next available opportunity."
Monday, 5 September 2016
Saturday, 3 September 2016
Friday, 2 September 2016
Everyone has heard of Uber; many have used its services. Those who drive under its banner are nominally self employed and many are not native born Britons but incomers who are seeking to improve their quality of life by working all hours available. Those non native English speakers gradually improve their use of the language in the course of time. Three of my own grandparents were non English speaking immigrants who never lost their foreign accents but whose language skills were more than adequate by the time I was starting school. Their experiences were common to all who seek as adults to immerse themselves in the ways of their new homeland.
London`s black cab drivers and Uber aren`t exactly in friendly competition. It could be argued that the former`s virtually closed shop and higher charges than in almost any other international city brought the confrontation upon themselves. Be that as it may Transport for London who regulate taxi and minicab services in the capital have sought to impose minimum English language standards on those who drive for Uber. Legal proceedings have reached a stage where that decision has been allowed to go to judicial review. That background in connection to a quasi legal political blog is as follows:- there is no test of competence in the English language for those who are called upon to serve on a jury. I find this inexcusable with or without a comparison with TFL and Uber. Government obsession with so called "equality" or "discrimination" is IMHO to blame. We are not all equal and discrimination is in itself not a hanging offence. The meaning of the word has become so distorted that Wikipedia defines it thus:-
"In human social affairs, discrimination is treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing is perceived to belong to rather than on individual merit".
There are other wider definitions:-
difference between one thing and another: discrimination between right and wrong
the ability to judge what is of high quality; good judgement or taste
The political definition as epitomised by Wikipedia is considered as gospel by some. Without discrimination in its true wide definition the human race would have been extinct long ago. For government to fail to amend language competence for jurors who are not even required to be citizens of this country at a time when it has been shown that there are a million Polish immigrants and a similar number other foreign born who could be sitting in judgement in any crown court is an abrogation of its duty. Perhaps during all the complexity of Brexit negotiations within government some attention will be paid to this insidious anomaly.