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 If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.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, 31 May 2018
Wednesday, 30 May 2018
Our once admired criminal justice system is being salami sliced to an unrecognisable tick box procedure of an assumption of guilt which the defendant must overturn. It doesn`t just take place at crown courts where the shifty shenanigans of the Crown Prosecution Service often with the collaboration of the police have shown activities which every honest citizen of this country must find to be blots on our social landscape. Magistrates are coming under enormous pressures both personal and procedural. Ever since Criminal Justice Simple Speedy Summary [CJSSS] became the watchword a decade ago government removed its gloves and made it clear it would fight dirty to reduce costs. Indeed the arch proponent of remaining in the EU Kenneth Clarke when he was Lord Chancellor in 2010 was the very first minister after the election to offer a reduced budget for his department in accord with the Treasury demands; 23%. His current pathetic performance indicates just how much he values our legal system never mind the result of June 23rd 2016. Supine individuals have followed him like chocolate soldiers in a heatwave within Petty France to emasculate our justice system. With a prime minister who in her previous incarnation cared nothing for the rights of the individual I fear we have still some way to travel along that insidious path where only the rich and/or the famous have the wherewithal to fight the state when accused of wrong doing.
Tuesday, 29 May 2018
It seems that the aforesaid disgraced police chief who has cost her previous employer over a million pounds in trying to defend the indefensible seeks to persuade business organisations that her opinions and advice are worth paying for in the form of presentations filtered through her speech giving agent Speakers Associates. On the basis that the old adage; a fool and his money are soon parted, applies to business I can only assume that any company that employs this person deserves to go down the pan sooner rather than later.
Thursday, 24 May 2018
The history of an ex senior Met officer Assistant Commissioner Maxine de Brunner is a history of all that is wrong with the Met. I first commented upon her activities on 10th June 2016 and then a month later and finally on 19th August 2016. This sad sordid story is now concluded. Chief Inspector Adrian Denby a decorated and respected officer has been awarded £870K as a result of de Brunner`s sex discriminating actions against him. That it has taken two years to achieve the wronged officer`s vindication is a disgrace. That the Met is considering an appeal compounds its folly. What is equally disturbing is that the Home Office refuses to divulge under the Freedom of Information Act the numbers of senior police officers convicted of misconduct; such refusal being only an indication of how serious misconduct by senior officers is on the increase and that the confidence of we the public would take a massive hit if the truth were known.
Tuesday, 22 May 2018
Monday, 21 May 2018
There were 354 deaths in prison in 2016, including three homicides. This compares to 257 deaths in 2015 and 8 homicides. In 20161, there were 204 deaths by natural causes, 120 deaths by suicide and three homicides. 27 deaths are currently classified as ‘other’. This includes 18 deaths classified as ‘awaiting further information’ and nine deaths classified as ‘non-natural/other’. There were 120 deaths by suicide in prisons in 2016, the highest annual number since records began in 1978. This figure may rise when the outstanding AFI deaths are re-classified. There were 90 deaths by suicide in 2015 and 89 in 2014. There were three apparent homicides in prison reported in the media in 2016. There were eight apparent homicides in 2015, the highest number of homicides on record since 1978, where there were five homicides. There were three homicides in 2014 and four in 2013.
Last year Sodexo won a large order for the Department of Work and Pensions. However last week the company was fined £304,925 for operating a river cruise boat without a valid Domestic Safety Management (DSM) certificate. This omission put the lives of passengers at risk.
In the mind of this capitalist supporting blogger outsourcing in general, not forgetting the scandals involving hospitals and care homes, has reached its sell by date. This and previous government by not restraining raw capitalism which has been allowed to run riot, the Carillion collapse of last month being just the latest example, is bedding in the possibility of Marxists entering numbers 10 and 11 Downing Street. With the current occupants there tearing each others eyes out over Brexit they have lost sight (pun intended) of the basis on which this country has provided our still just about coping standard of living. MAY MUST GO before it`s too late.
Friday, 18 May 2018
Wednesday, 16 May 2018
Tuesday, 15 May 2018
The first copied below is part of a speech from Alex Chalk, Conservative MP for Cheltenham on the Grenfell Inquiry. His words should be noted by those who criticise magistrates for not having the intellectual ability to understand complex cases.
"From my experience, just an appeal from a magistrates court in a relatively modest case will involve a judge and two lay assessors. That is why it is critical that the other members of the panel, which includes Mr Justice Moore-Bick, have decision-making power. They cannot simply be there to be thought of as making up the numbers; they must bring their weight of experience from the community and shared understanding. By the way, over many centuries lay people have shown themselves well able to analyse complex issues and do justice. To those people who might suggest we have simply a single judge, it is no answer to say, “Oh, it’s too complicated, too difficult, too technical.” Lay people are capable of understanding—of course they are—as long as matters are properly presented, and I am sure they will be."
The average assumed cost of each type of report is shown in the following table:
|Report type||Assumed average cost per report (£)|
|Data Period||Total number of pre-sentence reports (000s)||Assumed Costs (£m)|
|1 Apr 2015 – 31 Mar 2016||160.4||20.9|
|1 Apr 2016 – 31 Mar 2017||136.7||16.1|
Friday, 11 May 2018
A few years ago owing to an EU determination to reduce pollution many cars were being offered as standard equipment an engine cut out when the car was stationary. I wonder if any legal eagles have attempted to use this factor in an attempt to have a client acquitted of the charge of using a mobile phone when driving.
Thursday, 10 May 2018
Tuesday, 8 May 2018
Friday, 4 May 2018
In March in Scotland there were angry protests at new guidance that could force rape victims to give evidence against their will. Earlier this week Scotland`s chief judge suggested that rape "victims" need not appear in court. These two apparently diametrically opposite viewpoints can be read and compared in reports here and here.
There is no doubt that this debate will become more heated in all parts of the country. When not just a normal act between two people but one could say an essential part of human life can become a criminal act there is bound to be rancorous debate. When the likelihood of an impartial witness being available to corroborate or deny an account by the accuser or the accused is constrained a court must use all it has at its disposal to reach the truth; an exercise of extreme difficulty. All of which leads me round in a complete circle from my statement above; namely the verdict of "not proven" in a rape trial must in real terms be a summation in the minds of many jurors but finding actual expression only in Scotland.