Saturday, September 30, 2006

Competition Time

My Bench Chairman has been given a lot of information about Conditional Cautions that are going to be 'rolled out' in a police station near you some time soon. I shall do a piece on the cautions themselves, but in the meantime I am going to set this blog's first-ever competition!

When miscreants are given a Conditional Caution in future, the conditions will be set by the police in consultation with a CPS prosecutor, leaving those stuffy old fashioned courts right out of the loop. Fascinatingly, one of the conditions that will be imposed (and I'm not making this up) will be for the offender to write a letter of apology to the victim. I don't know how the system is going to overcome the fact that a good half of our defendants are functionally illiterate, and half of those struggle to write their own name. Many communicate only in grunts. Our ushers are well used to filling in means forms, and more often than not ask the defendants to repeat the oath rather than risk them reading it off a card.

So let's have your letters, apologising for imaginary crimes, of assault on PC or civilian, theft, vandalism, drunkenness, public order offences, that kind of thing. I shall award extra marks for any letters that manage to conceal lack of remorse in a cloak of apparent apology. But feel free to write whatever you like.

The unique prize will be the mouse mat and pen pictured below. Not available in shops, this will be a valuable keepsake for your grandchildren. Or you could put them on ebay and buy a potato with the proceeds.

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