Friday, July 17, 2009

More Window-Dressing (Updated)

Thanks to Roger Swindells for this report from a provincial newspaper. The whole 'community justice' nonsense, the pet project of Louise Casey, is likely to achieve absolutely nothing. Whatever the 'community' (whoever they are) tells me about how awful it is to be mugged or burgled (a sore point, as a close family member was burgled yesterday) I am still bound by the Sentencing Guidelines as is every other member of the judiciary. It's like the Victim Impact statements that are read out at the Crown Court; they make a good headline but the judge is specifically forbidden to allow them to influence his sentence.
It annoys me to see the CPS wasting resources on this kind of stuff. They still have a great deal of work to do to get the basic nuts and bolts of their job sorted out; we still suffer week after week with letters from solicitors unanswered, court directions ignored, paperwork lost. The rest is just spin, I am afraid.

Shortly after posting this I found myself looking at a Committal to the Crown Court. For the practitioners among you it was a Section 6(2). CPS applied for a week's adjournment because their file was not ready as a statement was missing. That's what they said last week. Defence opposed the application; their client had now come from South Wales three times, and was going to have to come back again. We conferred and refused the adjournment, discharging the defendant. I did, however, warn him that that might not be the end of it as the CPS could always re-charge him when (if?) they get their act together.

Isn't sorting out that kind of incompetence more important than poncing around with 'community prosecutors'?

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