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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Thursday, 25 May 2017

ONE LAW FOR HIS HONOUR AND ANOTHER FOR J.P.s

With many others I have long been aware that when it suits the MOJ J.P.s are certainly considered an important part of the judiciary and must be treated as such.  When it comes to a perceived breaking or bending of the myriad rules imposed on that same judiciary J.P.s are certainly considered a species apart.  Records of disciplinary action taken against J.P.s reveal a distinct tightening of supposed judicial boundaries when compared to judges. In the last few days three highly publicised incidents where offenders and sentencers; one lay bench and two crown court judges,  were involved in cross court comment illustrate my opinion that there is one law for them (judges) and another for us (magistrates).

Before Norfolk magistrates a foul mouthed female offender left the court unhindered by anything as direct as a charge of contempt and a cooling off period behind bars as should have been applied by a bench which had more tolerance than good sense and none for public perceptions.  In contrast a crown court judge in sentencing a female who had misused a company credit card to the tune of £38,000 gave her eighteen months custody suspended for two years made the following comment, "I hate sending women to prison."  Irrespective of the rights or wrongs of the sentence HH`s words demean the status of acting "without fear or prejudice".  Substitute Gays or Lesbians or Jews or Muslims or Plymouth Brethren or what have you for "women" and the problem created is unmistakable. But make no mistake; if a magistrate had given such a reason there would have been an investigation.  And finally a judge sent into custody an offender who called him "mate".  I doubt whether if the DJ`s arrogance had been displayed by a magistrate it would have gone unheeded by those in the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office.  

As the old adage says; there`s one law for them and another law for us.

4 comments:

  1. It's the JP's fault if they decided that her remarks and actions were not contemptuous.

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  2. 18 months custody is in accord with Sentencing Guidelines, This offence clearly passed the custody threshold.
    A suspended sentence seems perfectly reasonable to me, what is to be gained by sending a 30 year old lady of previous good character to custody?
    She will apparently remain in employment and is repaying the victim, in addition to the prison sentence hanging over her head she must carry out 100 hours unpaid work in the community.
    Justice not spitefulness!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comments. My point was not the outcomes but the remarks made and the lack of action by a bench that was perhaps reticent to use its legal powers

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  3. Something that we've discussed before is the lack of resources for Magistrates to enforce their decisions. I mean literally to enforce them, on the spot. It's entirely possible that they didn't fancy the court's collective chances against Ms Edwards if it came down to restraining her - she has form, after all.

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