Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fair Enough?

It was about ten past four this afternoon, at the end of a varied day's work that had seen us deal with a range of cases, resulting in a twelve months' sentence here and a conditional discharge there.
Sean Kennedy walked into the dock, a gangling young man with ginger hair. His eyes met mine, and he and I knew that we had seen each other before on more than one occasion; him in the dock and me on the bench.
I won't go into the details of the offence - Sean pleaded guilty straight off. It wasn't very serious, and it just served to confirm his long record of previous convictions. Sean has a short fuse, you see. He has next to no previous for violence, beyond the odd difference of opinion in the pub, but he tends to kick off when he becomes frustrated - as he does. He rants and raves, using lots of foul language, and eventually a PC has had enough and arrests him. He was anxious to tell us his story, and I gave him a fair chance to do so. He pleaded guilty, and accepted, when I questioned him, the elements of the offence.
He had a point, and was indignant about the police, and we could understand why he was cross, even though the officers had acted entirely correctly. Sean simply hadn't understood, because of his crossness. After he had had his five penn'orth I told him that we had listened to his story and that it did not amount to a defence, but that we would nevertheless fine him at the bottom end of the scale. He still wanted to talk about his grievance, but I stopped him there and reminded him that we had already cut him a lot of slack.
So we fined him and off he went. I don't know if he felt fairly done by, but I hope so.

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