Friday, March 16, 2012

Heavy Matters

I chaired a remand court the other day and among the cases not on our printed list was a man charged with murder. The lower court has very little to do in a murder case, other than to identify the accused, and remand him to a Crown Court in the next few days. We have long lost the power to consider bail.
These hearings are swift and lack any real judicial input from us. The man looked awful though; he was in prison-issue grey sweatshirt and tracksuit bottoms, and seemed to be in a mild state of shock, which is not surprising when you consider that as a man in middle age he is unlikely, if convicted, to regain his freedom before he becomes a pensioner. Murder is a uniquely awful crime, but the consequences for the perpetrator are awful too.


  1. Are you actually feeling sorry for the man?? What of the deceased, perhaps a few comments on him or her may show some humanity.

  2. Strangely enough I am not in favour of murder - I will go further and say that I strongly disapprove of it.

    Crimes often have more than one victim, and sometimes that victim is the criminal. It;'s rather insulting to suggest that I am indifferent to victims, when I spend my time on the bench in a state of full awareness of their suffering.

    But you can still be a magistrate and try to understand the people on whom you have to adjudicate.


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