The issue of pre trial refusal of bail for defendants has always been a contentious issue. It is certainly amongst the most difficult decisions made by magistrates. Taking away the liberty of an unconvicted person strikes at the heart of our justice system. To that question in the few years prior to my retirement the situations where bail was mandatory in the pre trial stage were increased. With those thoughts in mind it was interesting to read this week of the numbers of defendants remanded in custody who were not later convicted at crown or magistrates` courts.
The Home Office has rarely been a direct topic of this blog. Of course its effects on our legal system and the control of police affect us all. In November 2011 a previous Home Secretary uttered the now famous phrase in which he described his own fiefdom as "not fit for purpose". Many would argue that the situation is today not much changed. One fact however that has emerged from that department is that its current incumbent appears to have only limited control of what goes on under her name. Last week an asylum seeker was flown out of the country in direct contravention of a court order known to the Home Office which was in place prior to the departure of his flight to Turkey en route to Afghanistan. There are two simple conclusions to this sorry affair; Amber Rudd knew of the court order but ordered her civil servants to continue with the deportation or she did not know and her officials did her dirty work in the full knowledge that they were acting illegally. If the former is true she should...
Ladies and gentlemen you have been treated to a display of Smoke and Mirrors the likes of which is seldom seen in civilised society. The Aurora Borealis is a poor second cousin, it is an illusion that David Copperfield or Penn and Teller would be immensely proud of, and rightly so.
We have lived through a week when the illusions were so polished you might even think some people were actually lying, perish the thought.
First under the floodlights in the ring at Cruella’s Grand Illusion was the government announcement that the Public Sector Pay Cap was being lifted for Police and Prison Officers. Hardly divisive at all.. A variey of Sorceror’s Apprentices queued up or were wheeled out to try out the latest mantra.
We have accepted the recommendations of the Police Remuneration Review Body in full.
To me, this says that the PRRB have made some recommendations and that the govt have accepted and will be implementing them.
I suppose there`s a good case to answer insofar as police and Police Crime Commissioners is the group of public sector workers most often in the public eye. That being the case one would have thought that in the light of past behavioural, disciplinary and procedural problems members of those bodies would ensure for their own employment prospects that their actions were acceptable to inquisitive public scrutiny. One would have been wrong. Following are a just a few very recent cases reported this month where it is hard to believe that some individuals consider themselves perhaps not above the law but certainly above scrutiny.
In Worcestershire a Police and Crime commissioner does a deal which certainly was and is worthy of investigation. In Wiltshire a PCC is under scrutiny for his handling of the job. In the West Midlands a police officer`s remarks whilst wearing a body camera are so outrageous it`s hard to believe he was accepted as being suitable for his job. In Leicestershire four police officers...
For those who have followed my weekly report on HMCTS communications with interested parties on the scheme for "flexible working" there is still no comment on what seems to be the only question concerning magistrates. Perhaps HMCTS is following the policy of deaf ears and blind eyes to justify dumb mouths. Question is copied below. Website is here.
Mayposted on Have you secured sufficient numbers of magistrates to the proposed rota for extended hours? Similarly have you DJs in place. If to my first question the answer is "no" will you attempt to use DJs more often? Have you sufficient of them for your proposed needs? Do you have a division of sittings in mind for JPs and DJs?
Animals usually feature in the legal pages and reports when they attack a human being, escape from captivity, save their owner from a fate worse than death, help to capture criminals etc etc. Images appear when their expression seems almost human like. Indeed last week an attempt to assign copyright of a monkey`s image to the monkey itself failed. However a more interesting and some would say sinister case is taking place in Scotland where a defendant is accused inter alia of training his dog to perform a Hitler salute to promote his alleged anti semitic views. Where can this progress in law and disorder end up? Amongst commonly owned animals horses and pigs are perhaps the most intelligent and responsive to being trained by their human masters and mistresses. The latter species for obvious reasons perhaps lends itself to being used in demonstrations against Muslims and/or Jews. I wonder what police reaction would be if a nazi badged porker was included in such a demonstration? Probably a public order charge would be levelled against its owner. Now that would be an interesting case to report here.
Many of you will be aware that, as well as being Deputy Chief Constable, I am the National Police (NPCC) lead for Domestic Abuse. This is an area of policing that touches, or has touched, most of our professional lives. It accounts for a significant percentage of our calls for service, our crime investigations, our safeguarding efforts, our partnership work and of course, the offenders who we pursue, arrest and take through the criminal justice system. It makes up more than 10 per cent of 999 calls and more than 50 per cent of reports of violent crime.
Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe
More victims are seeking our assistance than ever before. National data suggests reporting has risen by over 60 per cent since 2014 yet it is still under-reported and our recent crime data integrity inspection highlights that we have some improvements to make in how we record some offences.
Over 2 million disabled blue badge holders have special parking privileges. Fewer than 1000 prosecutions are brought against those who abuse the system by using counterfeit badges or otherwise fraudulently try to play the system. Since prosecutions are the responsibility of local councils and those councils often appear to be more interested in using their reducing resources for other matters that are more profitable many magistrates will not have been involved in such matters. I first posted on this topic earlier this year on 23rd February. A recent case, I suppose because of the rarity and because of the affluence of the offender, caught my attention. What strikes me about the case is not reported in the national press; one of my eyes and ears on the ground has informed me of the purported statement of the bench chairman: "We feel that you used the blue badge deliberately. We feel that the offence requires a fine but we have taken into account your early guilty plea".........(my bold) As a...
Equifax has confirmed a data breach in which both UK and US accounts have been compromised.
Action Fraud is aware of reports of a large scale data leak of Equifax customer data, which was first reported to us on Friday 8 September. Since then we have been working with Equifax, as well as law enforcement partners in the USA and UK, in order to gain a precise understanding of the extent of the data leak and whether any UK citizens may have been affected. We will post a more detailed update when we have more information to give.
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.