Monday, September 01, 2014

I Quite Agree, Your Honour

Here is part of a report of a tragic case concerning the death of two cyclists.

I can only agree with the Judge's comment about the Victim Surcharge.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Beyond Satire

Thanks to Martin B for bringing this splendid story to my attention. Even the immortal Beachcomber would have found it hard to surpass this tale.

Congratulations M'lud

A few years ago I mentioned Sir David Bean , a High Court judge whom I expected to go far. He has just been elevated to the Court of Appeal as Lord Justice Bean, or Bean LJ as he will be known in the law reports. Humble congratulations from a member of the lesser judiciary to a member of a very high level indeed.

Thanks For That

I read that the UK's terror threat level has been raised from "substantial" to "severe".

That's interesting, and I do not doubt it is true,but what, exactly, are we supposed to do with the information?

I am to sit in court tomorrow morning.I shall just have to take my chances, I suppose.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


When I walk into the assembly room on the morning of a sitting day, I never know what awaits me, other than whether I am to be a Chairman (as I usually am). Sometimes one courtroom is down for non-CPS work, such as local authority, TV licences,  RSPCA or suchlike. I am afraid that these sessions can sometimes be very boring, especially the TV cases where 90 per cent of those summonsed do not turn up, so we hear the case in absentia, which makes the whole business rather mechanical.

The other day, in among the Council's failure-to-attend-school cases we were faced with a Fail to Comply with Enforcement Notice matter. It turned out to be a Beds in Sheds case; where a suburban semi had acquired a substantial unauthorised outbuilding that was being rented to recent immigrants for £650 per month. I can't say too much about it, but we imposed a five-figure fine and added on an amount to reflect the gain from illicit use over a couple of years. The defendants were pretty unhappy once they added up the bill, complete with costs and surcharge, and the council added to their woes by serving an assessment for Council tax, backdated two years.

Aerial surveys show these outbuildings to be a large and growing problem. There have been a number of fire-related deaths in these cases, so the council does need to keep a close eye on them.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

So Far, So So-So

ITV has come up with a Judge Judy clone, called Judge Rinder,(played, in reality by a respected barrister). The TV set is a shabby pastiche of an American court room, complete with flags behind the bench, and those swing gates that I remember from old US movies.

Unforgivably, there is also a bloody gavel on the pretend bench.   (for those new to the blog, no British court ever uses a gavel).

I looked the programme up, after a couple of ladies in my local pub enthused about the sexiness of the faux judge, and added the caveat that they thought he was camp, and drew the usual conclusion.

I will give it a run, but  I fear that it is unlikely, on the present showing, to improve the public's understanding of courts

This is his day job

Fishy Matters

This piece describes a classic nonsense prosecution.

Only last week I ate a delicious plate of sardines, suitably dressed in garlic. Those sardines were hauled from their habitat, allowed to asphyxiate in the fishing boat, then sent to a fish merchant who filleted them and sold them to a restaurant, where I enjoyed eating them.

What, pray, is the difference, between my eating those sardines, and this sad drunken boy drinking live fish? I hope never to find out whether it is worse to be gulped into someone's digestive juices, or to gasp out my life on the deck of a fishing boat.

No more cash to the RSPCA from me, then (their costs applications are always way above CPS scales)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Age and the Judiciary

Susan, a JP, has emailed to ask me to comment on the fact that JPs have to retire at 70, which would now be illegal in everyday employment.

The entire judiciary, right up to the Lord Chief Justice has to go at 70, (with a very few exceptions) and I have no problem with that. We can't have old codgers like me, in my 60s, clogging up the bench and getting in the way of young fresh people. The late Lord Denning sat on to a very advanced age, but that will not happen in future.

Police Force

A journalist of whom I am extremely fond (all right, he's my son) has sent me this link that highlights the creeping militarisation of the police in some US states. If we are not careful. that might happen here - if you dress the police like commandos and arm them like commandos, they might possibly start to act like commandos.

This is what I thought some time ago.