Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Apocrypha 24

When deciding on bail or sentence we are handed the defendant's previous convictions. We are only supposed to get the bit about convictions but we often get to see the cover sheet and the police intelligence stuff. The front sheet summarises the pre-cons, broken down into violence, dishonesty and so on. It also lists aliases, and sometimes there are a dozen of them. More often than not (especially with those of foreign origin) the aliases are no such thing, but in fact the result of poor spelling or transcription of unfamiliar names by busy and stressed custody officers.

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