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 ten years whilst I was active I retain it now only as a literary device no longer actually using the term JP for any other purpose whatsoever.

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 If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.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, 24 September 2018


I have a great liking for calvados so for the next week or so I will be in my element at the home of all drinks apple; no doubt I will also sample un demi de cidre in Normandy over the next week or so. 

Thursday, 20 September 2018


On 14th June I posted on the MOJ`s search for a "national leadership magistrate". Since then all but one regional leadership toads have been appointed. 

If there are any doubters that the end of the magistracy as it has been known for over 600 years is on the horizon they should re-examine the political history of the organisation and its ancillary duties over the last twenty years.  I made my first of many comments on the demise of an independent magistracy almost as soon as I began blogging as Justice of the Peace in 2009 (at a now defunct site). This total potential control by HMCTS surely points to the eventual wiping out of the Magistrates Association as a point of influence. But what kind of person signs up to be a government lackey?  I can only assert that those with the attributes to be politicians or regional leadership magistrates are the very people whose personalities indicate that they should not actually do those jobs. I term this the paradox of personality.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018


It is becoming increasingly irrefutable that the disastrous cuts in police numbers instigated when she was home secretary by arguably the worst prime minister in modern times are resulting in a crime wave of horrendous proportions where daily killings in London are common place and drug dealers are extending their empires to every town and village in the country.  In the light of such activity one would have thought that police up and down the country would maximise their limited resources for public protection and prevention of breaches of the peace. One would have thought wrongly at least in the case of the thin blue line attempting to patrol the county of Leicester`s many streets and byways. This is the constabulary which in 2015 announced with the bravado of a  teenage Lothario who had made his first conquest that in future investigations of alleged burglary it would investigate only those addresses with even numbers. Not satisfied with the derision that that decision heaped upon those officers at the sharp end those responsible for allocating what funds are available for officers` training have now used their collective wisdom to offer banter training to reduce workplace tensions when misunderstood language might be the cause of perceived offence.  

The only offence I can perceive is to the common sense of police officers and to the tax payers of Leicester. That wonderful sixties blues band The Animals had it just right; "Don`t let me be misunderstood". 

Tuesday, 18 September 2018


I`m a collector or perhaps hoarder is a more accurate description the result being that I never have enough space to put away all my bits and pieces. It was whilst I was searching this morning for some documents from the 1990s that I stumbled across the learning log supplied when I attended the weekend induction course to the magistracy. The third entry written on December 31st at the end of my first year on the bench describes my thoughts and I copy it word for word below.

“Legally two cases stand out. The first at the beginning of the year; a case of two black defendants being accused of causing harassment, alarm and distress to two police officers with three other officers as witnesses. We decided there was no case to answer. This was my first trial. It was a rude awakening to how the police can operate against “short tempered” innocent blacks and how the rules governing the threat to use CS gas were disregarded. I wonder if the defendants considered that a white, middle class middle aged bench believed their story to the exclusion of the police evidence and whether it was a topic amongst their friends or family that might indicate that the courts were not biased against them”.

The above sitting was prior to the murder of Stephen Lawrence. 

Thursday, 13 September 2018


Still not fully recovered from the wee germ but it so happens there have been some recent  government press releases which might be of interest. Results of fully-video hearings pilot published.    Still this regime will not be deflected from the path of instant distance justice whatever the cost in human emotion. Pilots will inevitably be deemed as successful and the English language is tortured to death to excuse any unwanted results. Judicial Diversity Statistics 2018 will show that the magistracy is the most diverse of all judicial levels but IMHO we are being hanged on this term when quality and suitability should be the only criteria.  Judicial office holders must be respected for their ability to do the job not fulfil a quota. Jail time to double for assaulting an emergency worker  It would seem that in order for the increased penalties to be available such matters will have to go to crown court as the lower courts` powers are limited to six months custody for a single offence.  According to the release, "Attacking a person serving the public is already an aggravating factor in sentencing guidelines but this Bill will put that position on a statutory basis for emergency workers".  I thought the general idea is to simplify the law not increase its complexity but then I`m just a lowly ill informed retired JP.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018


Recovering from a viral infection. Normal service will, I hope, be resumed ASAP

Wednesday, 5 September 2018


It has been my opinion for over a decade that the concept of local justice is local in name only and that the function of Justices of the Peace will be but a historical footnote by the middle of the next decade. Magistrates are not well organised as a lobby group.  The Magistrates Association has faded from prominence and influence to be replaced by national bench chairmen in a so called forum under the complete control of the executive.  To add to the situation and to seek more control the MOJ in June advertised for a National Leadership Magistrate.  No announcement has yet been made if that position has been filled. Full details can be found on my post of 14th June. With all that in mind I was impressed to read in the Guardian that Kent magistrates have made their own direct protest at the changes anticipated which are just around the corner. Their arguments are cogent but I fear they are fighting a losing battle.  The MOJ will not make substantive changes in its intentions to further remove from our courts the essentials of a level playing field where the guilty are punished and with an equality of arms the innocent are  set free.

Monday, 3 September 2018


It`s not often that a news event slots into so many aspects of my life and my hobby as a blogger.  I was retired from the magistracy having reached the biblical three scores years and ten, I have recently had to renew my driving license and in a previous life I was an eyecare professional.  The news event is that police are to be given powers to immediately revoke the driving license of somebody who fails a police initiated roadside "eye test".  A first impression might be that this is a worthwhile new activity for police to be involved in but I question that.  The current requirement to ascertain if an applicant for a driving license can see properly is for him/her to read a number plate on a vehicle at 20M in normal daylight conditions.   Other requirements do not require anything other than a driver`s declaration.  Professional organisations associated with eyecare, its practice and its practitioners have for many decades pleaded with government to insist that license applicants be subjected to a comprehensive eye examination and issued with a certificate of competence on meeting the required standard before a practical driving test is taken.  Currently as far as I am aware that requirement at a minimum is still before government for those like me who must renew their license every three years.  As if police are under employed another task is handed to them.  But they are not the people who should be doing this; there are optometrists on every high street  fully equipped academically, professionally and legally to undertake this work.   By by- passing this route it is another example of this government`s choosing the cheapest easy way out to meet what is perceived a public demand. i.e. it is another public relations gimmick by the worst and arguably most incompetent cabinet minister in my lifetime......Chris Grayling; he who removed books from prisoners, he who imposed court charges which were rescinded as soon as he left office, he who has buggered up all he touches as Transport Minister.  So many commentators more knowledgeable than I have said it: Oh for Her Majesty`s  Opposition that was worthy of the name to offer us an alternative to the current lot who indeed could not have a wild party in a brewery.