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Police: MORE COURT CLOSURES/MORE GOVT. LIES

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
This government`s determination to close more magistrates` courts continues.  The belief in Whitehall that video courts can deliver equal justice for all and reduce costs has become as much as a totem for the MOJ as a free at point of use NHS has become for the Health Department. Outside metropolitan areas in particular the MOJ is still providing vastly inaccurate figures for travel times on public transport for those who will be required to spend up to two hours in making their way to a courtroom for a 9.30am start including time for consultation with lawyer. 

To quote from the Northern Echo; " The Ministry of Justice is proposing to close Northallerton Magistrates Court – but its analysis states it is quicker for some people living near the town to reach Middlesbrough.The proposal to close Northallerton Magistrates Court involves transferring its work between magistrates courts at York, Harrogate, Skipton and Middlesbrough.It is currently running a consultation over the proposal.But a table which compares estimated...

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Police: MORE ON EXCEPTIONAL HARDSHIP

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
“The reasons for exceptional hardship are proven because you will lose your employment and a roof over your head.” This is an extract from a statement made recently by a bench chairman at Manchester Magistrates` Court. Last week I posted on exceptional hardship.  Unfortunately for motoring law and the principle of deterrence as exemplified by the totting legislation of "12 points means disqualification", the law IMHO has failed in this example. The Magistrates Association has published guidance on this matter; para 4) v is of particular interest.  A newsworthy appeal against exceptional hardship being rejected was heard in Glasgow in 2012.  The website Counsel Direct has valuable opinion on the subject. 

Exceptional hardship cases are heard almost daily in many courts nationwide.  At no time during my tenure was any official guidance given. Indeed my own notes were welcomed by many colleagues to assist them in their finding their way through sometimes lengthy appeals by advocates for the offenders. It is about time that magistrates understood all the factors which should be considered in such cases. 




Police: CRUISE CONTROL WITH A DIFFERENCE

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
Car enthusiasts........now there`s a term that the green lobby would have bracketed in a similar group to litter louts or football hooligans.  I`m not at all ashamed to admit that a couple of decades ago I bought a bright red Triumph TR6 convertible; a classic British sportscar with an engine so simple to fiddle with that I with two left hands even managed to change injectors.  Belonging to the TR Club occasionally I joined with fellow enthusiasts to drive in convoy along some narrow country roads to an olde English pub where half a pint of cider was made to last a couple of hours whilst oily knowledge and experience was exchanged between geeks, anoraks or call us what you will. In fact there are dozens if not hundreds of similar groups and clubs nationwide doing exactly the same.

It seems that such activity has been banned in what is termed the Black Country for quite some time.  According to Halesowen News " A High Court decision to extend a ground-breaking injunction banning car cruising in the Black Country for a further...

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Police: EXCEPTIONAL HARDSHIP:APPLYING GOOD JUDGEMENT AND DISCRIMINATION

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
Exceptional hardship is a subject that can arouse deep differences within a bench during retiring room deliberations.Indeed it has been the subject of a few posts here over the last few years. Four years ago there was this one and in June the following year I posted this

Generally my opinion has been that those offenders who moan the most, namely professional drivers, are deserving of the least sympathy followed by obviously wealthy individuals who could easily afford to hire a driver for six months.  However the finding of exceptional hardship is one of those remaining considerations which are entirely within the bench`s discretion.  Where some difficulty might arise in the decision making is when the offender has proven worth to the community and/or perhaps a history of good deeds or valour in the case of active or former servicemen.  There is certainly a fine line to be drawn when eg a hospital doctor applies for exceptional hardship purely on the basis of his/her occupation and a carpet...

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Police: WHEN A JUDGE SWEARS

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
On 12th August 2016 I commented on the judge who threw verbal caution to the wind and swore back at an offender who had used his basic knowledge of olde English to vent his feelings at her.  Not surprisingly the matter reached the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office which yesterday cleared her of misconduct.  Truth be told I`m a little surprised but not disappointed. Like the rest of us judges are human and have fallibilities. What did enter my mind was the recollection of apparently heavy treatment dished out to Justices of the Peace for a lot less. I suppose some are still more equal than others.


Police: NO NONSENSE AT LIVERPOOL CROWN COURT IN 2017

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
All too often blogger and public reaction to crown court sentencing is less than enthusiastic.  In an interesting and sometimes amusing report in the Liverpool Echo sentencing comments from the city`s crown court judges in 2017 are worth a few minutes reading time IMHO of course. Access the page here.


Police: DRIVING JUSTICE WITH HANDBRAKE ON

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
An apparently simple case last week at Teesside Magistrates Court has left me thinking. It involved the defendant being found guilty for the second time of carrying a weapon and receiving a suspended custodial sentence.  What set what`s left of my little grey cells firing off in all directions was the conclusion reached by the bench that the knife in question was accepted as being for trade purposes; namely for decorating but also an "offensive weapon". Whilst I was active such a defence (for trade) was an acceptable defence against the charge. Has that changed?  The magistrates seem to be in two minds on this matter and have effectively driven the judicial vehicle with the hand brake applied. There is no mention in the report if his advocate was considering an appeal. Make up your mind after you read all about it here.


Police: AND THEN THERE WERE CUTS

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
A new year and amid an overdue recognition by senior legal eagles on both sides of the bench that the quality of British justice is in freefall from which it might never recover it is curious to read the last 2017 edition of the Scunthorpe Telegraph copied below  highlighting what I too recollect at my own court was happening around two decades ago.  It all seems so petty now with not an inkling of the savage financial cuts which began in 2010. Kenneth Clarke who is merrily trying to usurp the decision of the British public and have the Leave decision overturned didn`t just turn a blind eye to imposed cuts as Justice Secretary in 2010; he thoroughly encouraged them with a 23% reduction in funding that year and was proud to proclaim he was the first Cabinet Minister to satisfy the Treasury of having done its wishes.  

"One piece of news hitting the headlines in Scunthorpe 20 years ago was the decision to stop the supply of free biscuits to magistrates. John Towndrow, vice-chairman of the Humberside Magistrates’ Courts Committee,...

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Police: AT THIS MERRY TIME THE CANARY IS WARNING

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
Council Tax more than any other tax can be seen to be used where we live and work.  Many untruths about the results for non payers are propagated by political vested interests.  The actual numbers receiving the ultimate sanction and why can be accessed here.

There was great publicity from the  diarrheac output of the MOJ press office not so long ago on a new offence  of controlling or coercive behaviour under section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015. The result? not very much........just another example of how government thinks that throwing more legislation at a problem will cure it. 

So begins another period of hedonism where the word "merry" is the common adjective.  Thinking about it that word is rarely used in any other context. My opinion for what its worth is long might that continue.  There are too many political correct apologists and activists of propagating all that`s wrong with our world.  As a non religious person I`m all for the free expression by those god fearing of one faith or another but those who are...

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Police: STATISTICS ON GENDER RELATED LEGAL MATTERS

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace
It`s coming to that time of year when this blog and many others will go into hibernation for a couple of weeks.........but not just yet.  Recent parliamentary questions on two different subjects within the remit of the MOJ produced statistics for women and women-V-men that some readers might find interesting? disturbing? gratifying? or you name it.  Judge for yourselves below.









Latest The Justice Of The Peace Stories

MORE COURT CLOSURES/MORE GOVT. LIES
MORE ON EXCEPTIONAL HARDSHIP
CRUISE CONTROL WITH A DIFFERENCE
EXCEPTIONAL HARDSHIP:APPLYING GOOD JUDGEMENT AND DISCRIMINATION
WHEN A JUDGE SWEARS

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