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 If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.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, 26 October 2016


Yesterday I posted on proposed new sentencing guidelines on breach of court orders and in particular breach occurring whilst an offender is under a suspended sentence order.  My conclusion was that the greatly increased minutia of the sentencing structure has allowed sentencing per se to have become almost a tick box exercise, such a philosophy having supposedly been considered and rejected when Sentencing Guidelines was first published.  With a lay bench of three magistrates there is always the possibility of a single voice suggesting a variation from the guidelines when there is sufficient reason to back up such a  proposal.  When a District Judge (MC) is presiding that option is removed.  A recent development is for a single magistrate to sit alone in an office albeit with a legal advisor in simple matters which do not have a possible custodial outcome and are generally strict liability.  My initial comment on that scenario is the difficulty that that J.P. might find if for whatever reason within lawful boundaries s/he has a different opinion from the L/A on outcome especially with some L/As tending to advise to or sometimes beyond the limits of their responsibilities. Considering the trend over the last decade it does not appear to be fanciful to predict the possibility of a non human digital approach to trial and sentencing.  Verdicts of the European Court of Human Rights have been subjected to analyses which predicted verdicts of a computer accurately in 79% of cases. It is only a matter of a generation before such artificial intelligences become even more a part of our daily life.  Who is to say that those advances will not include interaction with current legal processes. 

1 comment:

  1. We can hand things over to Friend Computer when it's able to determine the credibility of accusers, defendants and witnesses. Take that human aspect out of it, and a malicious prosecution or evasion of justice would become a matter of typing in the highest rated keywords.