Sunday, March 24, 2013
This post from Bystander N
An interesting snippet from the recent Law Commission consultation on contempt of court. One of the points, admittedly the very last one and the only one to use the word magistrate is:-
“If anything, the disparity serves to illustrate that the maximum sentence available to the Magistrates’ is too low, and particularly if Section 12(1)(a) of the Magistrates’ Court Act were amended to include threats”. A senior member of the judiciary is actually suggesting we have too little sentencing power!
I have never been on a bench that has held anyone in contempt, not just because in fact it happens quite rarely, but also because sadly in, these days of courts with no ushers, security staff who do little more than operate a metal detector at the court entrance, and few if any police around, it is very difficult in practice. Picture this:-
“The gentleman, or lady, in the public gallery. I have warned you before about your offensive language and what it might lead to, and we now hold you in contempt of court. Will you please be so kind as to sit down for a while whilst we try to rustle up someone who can come up and take you to the cells for us? Hang on a minute. I see it’s 13.05. Very sorry but security has just started its lunch break. Would you mind awfully hanging around until after 14.00 and they can do it then?”