Wednesday, May 29, 2013

No Need To Advertise

I was on the rota to sit a few days ago (Bank Holiday Monday). Our main courthouse dealt with all of the work that has come in since Saturday from the three London boroughs that make up our Local Justice Area. We opened two courtrooms, and the duty clerk told us that we had 22 people downstairs in the cells at ten o'clock. Inevitably there were delays while the CPS and defence solicitors sorted themselves out, so we didn't get started until nearly half past ten.
We saw the usual mix; a few breaches of bail, in which we had to decide whether or not to re-bail or remand in custody, a couple arrested on warrant for failing to turn up at court, some drug dealers arrested in warrant-backed raids on their homes, and some assaults.
One of the bail breachers had been on a 'doorstep' curfew from 7 till 7, and had simply got on a bus and gone to meet his mates. The police don't check every doorstep curfew every night, but our man got involved in a bit of a ruckus four miles from home. He tried giving a false name, but the Livescan fingerprint machine soon identified him, and he  was held overnight to be brought to court. A couple of youths were in the mix, and one sixteen year-old sticks in my mind. A skinny youth, he was uncommunicative and his body language made it clear that he wanted to express defiance. As I addressed him (using, as we must, his first name) he half turned to make it clear that he wasn't interested in what I had to say. His bail breach was so blatant that we sent him off to Feltham, to be brought before a youth court later in the week.
The men ( and they were all men or boys) who had been held overnight were all in custody because of previous bail breaches or simply their previous records.
We were all done by about two o'clock, so we were off into the sunshine, as the Serco prison vans prepared to pull out of the yard at the back.


  1. And what would have been the outcome for the 16 year old had the youth been female? The goose and the gander would have received different sauce.

  2. What ridiculous speculation from Also.

    Thank you Bystander Team, I really enjoy your blog posts!

    1. Not at all. I was merely pointing out what is possible for boys but not possible for girls of that age. Nothing to do with speculation as to how a bench chose to deal with it. Having made a decision to refuse bail, the outcome would inevitably have been different.

  3. Youth Justice Bored19 June 2013 at 15:28


    While the Youth Justice Board often places sixteen-year-old boys in YOIs like Feltham it won't place girls in YOIs until they reach seventeen. So the sauce would have been different, but maybe not for the reasons you think.

    Bystander Team,

    Whatever flavour the sauce, it's worth noting that the final destination of any juveniles who are refused bail and remanded in detention can no longer be ordered by the Court. Your sixteen-year-old boy might have ended up in a (secure, admittedly) children's home, not a YOI.

    1. YJB
      My comment was written for the very reason that you identify - see my reply above.


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