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 If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Monday, 11 September 2017


The current on line edition of the Bath Chronicle has the following on its front page:-

"Michael Stephen Phillips, 50, of Haycombe Drive in Twerton, was given a suspended prison sentence after he admitted assaulting a woman in Stothert Avenue, Bath Riverside. Magistrates noted the following aggravating factors: “domestic violence, nature of injury, sustained assault on a vulnerable victim plus previous conviction against same person”. Phillips was committed to prison for 16 weeks, suspended for 18 months. He must take part in a building better relationships programme for 42 days and a restraining order was made. He was ordered to pay £250 in compensation, a £115 victim surcharge and £85 Crown Prosecution Service costs".

The fact of not imposing immediate custody whatever the personal circumstances of this offender, circumstances which the reporter deemed unnecessary to write up, is nothing short of disgraceful if the public is to have confidence that our judicial system is one in which they can have confidence.   When that confidence is eroded so is a pillar of our democracy.


  1. I'd suspect that the offence occurred some time ago, has not been repeated since (to an extent requiring the State to stand in the 3rd corner), and that his victim has since turned out to be a hostile witness who has realised what a diamond geezer he really is when he's not had one too many shandies.

    We can't be sure, but it would be a sad and familiar enough tale.

    The fact is that if he were sent down for 16 (well, 8) weeks, he'd emerge as no better a person, and likely worse. Short of banning both parties from all contact indefinitely (and enforcing it), I'm not sure what the State can do to protect the victim from her choice in men.

    I accept the pour encourager les autres aspect, but it's a wobbly hook on which to hang a sentence in defiance of the MoJ diktat to avoid incarceration where at all possible.

  2. The downside is that Joe Public will eventually get fed up with the courts having their hands tied when it comes to sentencing and start to take the law into their own hands and we can only guess where that will lead us.....