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 If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Thursday, 5 January 2017


Contrary to what many people outside the legal environment might think alcohol is considered an aggravating circumstance in the committing of a criminal offence i.e. it is grounds for increasing a sentence from the starting point in the range recommended for the offence.  In the light of perennial ministerial comments about sentencing for even carrying a knife or bladed article never mind the use thereof it was therefore quite surprising to read of a case where a Recorder did not sentence to immediate custody a woman who in a state of inebriation stabbed her equally drunk partner in the chest. 

I suppose the anti prison lobby will be happy.


  1. Here we go again. I have sometimes sat with recorders on appeals and have been sometimes staggered at their approach to the sentencing task. I remember a particular instance where he had a disposal in mind and whispered it left and right expecting nods of approval. For my part I shook my head and said I wanted to retire to discuss further. He wasn't pleased with that but we did retire, I put my point to which my colleague agreed. Two against one and the sentence was delivered through gritted teeth. Was a bit chilly in the dining room at lunch but that's life. Mostly I have had good relations with recorders and they are not all the same and many value our experience in he magistrates' court.

  2. They were at home so any issue of carrying knife or bladed article is irrelevant as it was not in a public place.

    I am personally not uncomfortable with his sentence.