Thursday, June 15, 2017

So. Farewell then Bystander...



We're very sorry to say that Bystander (real name Richard Bristow) died at Stoke Mandeville on June 4, aged 70. He was a Justice of the Peace at Uxbridge from 1985 to 2016,  and was the first chairman of the West London Local Justice Area. He'll be sadly missed by family and friends, but not by the villains of Uxbridge, Ealing and Hounslow.  

He was fond of quoting this passage from the Seven Ages of Man speech:

And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part.

50 comments:

  1. So sorry to hear this. I learned a huge amount and gained a different perspective on the workings of the law and justice from reading his blog.

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  2. Very sad to hear this> I have been reading this blog for a decade or more. Thoughts are with his family.

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  3. Oh, I'm very sorry to hear that. Richard had a terrific blog, always interesting and informative.

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  4. What terrible news RIP Richard thinking of his family

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  5. I am sorry to hear of Bystander's death. I have been reading this blog for many years, and whilst not always agreeing with the views expressed, never failed to find Bystander's posts thought-provoking. In my opinion, he did a great service to we lay-people by offering an insight into a part of modern life which is closed to many.

    Rest in Peace, Bystander.

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  6. Very sorry to hear this, condolences to his family.

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  7. So shocked and sorry to hear this. I'd been reading his blog for years, he always seemed witty and wise. Condolences to his friends and family.

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  8. That's sad news. :( I'm a better person for this blog. My best wishes to Bystander's family.

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  9. I'm sorry to hear that. My condolences to his family and friends. I'm sure he would have appreciated a tribute in the style of E. J. Thribb.

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  10. RIP to the man who many years ago inspired me to become a magistrate.

    And my condolences to his family and friends, who have lost (on the basis of this blog) someone who was wise, kind and insightful.

    RIP, Richard.

    ML

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  11. As a regular reader of this blog, I have to say we are all poorer for his loss. He brought an intelligent, and at time humorous, eye to proceedings in the legal system and his reflections on how the law deals with a range of subjects was an eye-opener to a member of the general public like me. He will be missed.

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  12. So sad to hear the news. I have followed this blog with avid interest from day one. Rest in peace.

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  13. Very sad news. I greatly enjoyed his blog for many years. Condolences to his friends and family.

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  14. RIP Bystander - your blog was a source of information and enlightenment to many. Thank you.

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  15. To the Bystander’s family, friends, colleagues and readers.
    My deep commiserations on your loss. Words on the web are, in such circumstance, a nearly insignificant footnote to your loss. I never met “Your Worship” or stood in his court but I have a law enforcement background and have followed his musings for many years.

    Today I heard of the loss of a voice I admired.
    A voice who spoke reason.
    A voice who spoke up against the injustice of one size fits all justice, injustice in hardness AND injustice in softness.
    A voice who understood that service to his community was more than important, it was vital.
    A voice that understood that community actually meant community. A shared sense of belonging and being, not an ever expanding administrative, budgetary thesis.

    To Richard’s family, friends and colleagues, and to me; Let’s try and be as good as Bystander was.

    PS Tried to get a verified login but failed.

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  16. Very sorry to hear this. RIP.

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  17. I met him when we were both involved with the setting up of the NBCF (National Bench Chairmen's Forum.) I was elected by other Bench Chairmen to get the NBCF off the ground for the SE Region. I didn't know him very well but on the few occasions that we came into contact my memory of him was that he was a thoroughly nice chap. I think his was the original JP blog and he encouraged both those with a knowledge of the Criminal Justice System as well as those that just came across it by chance. My condolences to his family. RIP Richard.

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  18. Oh, crikey. I've been enjoying Bystander's observations and musings for a couple of years and have rarely been disappointed. Until now. Sincere condolences to his friends and family.

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  19. I am so very sad. His has been a blog I have regularly read in the past. I have often thought that if I had to be brought up in front of a magistrate I hoped it was him. He seemed human and understanding of the frailties of the average person.

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  20. So sorry to hear this. His contribution to increasing the understanding of the justice system was immense. As a JP I have been reading the blog for more years than I can remember. In sympathy David

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  21. Didn't always agree with him, but he was always on my blogroll, and he's very much a loss to the world of bloggers and the world of the justice system.

    Very sad.

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  22. Sad. Goodbye.

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  23. I am very sorry to learn of Bystander's passing - having read his posts since probably around 2005, together with those of Brian Kellet - Random Acts Of Reality...

    I didn't always agree with Bystander, but I think we should all recognise everything he did to try and shine a little light onto the goings on in our courts, the issues faced by everyone touched by the criminal justice system, and those occasional moments of hilarity...

    The world as they say was a little brighter for having him in it.

    Martin Milan.
    aka Madaxeman.

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  24. My thoughts are with his family and friends. Bystander brought the dilemmas of lay magistrates to us all in a wonderful way, enhancing knowledge of the courts and the human dramas therein. He will be greatly missed, but thank you for your blog.

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  25. I am so sad to read this news as I have followed this blog for several years and always found it informative and entertaining. A few years ago I contacted Bystander about a court case my granddaughter was facing and he graciously offered me some very useful advice. I was really grateful. He seemed like a really nice and genuine bloke. RIP Bystander.

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  26. God speed, good Sir.

    I will miss you.

    Heaven be your road.

    Alice. x

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  27. Very sad to hear this news. Condolences to his family and all who knew him.

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  28. Its strange how having never met Bystander and not knowing who he was, one still feels a strange sense of loss upon hearing of his passing. I have been following and thoroughly enjoying The Magistrates Blog for over a decade and feel quite sad that there will be no more musings and snippets.

    Rest in Piece, Richard. Thanks for the blog.

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  29. Sincere condolences to his family. His service was appreciated and his blog was educational.

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  30. Just caught up with this very sad news. It was reading this blog and that of Inspector Gadget that inspired me to dip my toe into the blogging waters. I can still recall the excitement when my early effort attracted its first 100 hits as a result of Bystander very graciously giving it a mention. Throughout my career as a Probation Officer I've always enjoyed working closely with magistrates and I shall be forever grateful for his blog and the encouragement it gave to other professionals to speak up about their professional experiences. His blog will be much missed. Sincere condolences to his family and friends.

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  31. I very sadly learnt of Richard's death a few weeks back through another source. I met him a couple of times through his interest in aviation where he was a regular participant in another forum under the name 'Unwell Raptor'. As a JP we had 2 mutual interests. Nice guy, will be missed.

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  32. Very sorry to hear this. I like many will miss Richard's blog.

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  33. Very sad - Bystander's humanity, good humour and powers of observation were much appreciated. He will be sorely missed.

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  34. Have just learned this sad news. Bystander was a person of both authority and common sense, something that is increasingly rare in public life.

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  35. This is indeed sad news. Richard set a high standard for blogging and he was one of the very first to try to bring greater knowledge of what happens in our courts to the public. His writing was always interesting and informative. I know that he was somewhat disappointed when a certain Senior Presiding Judge tried to dissuade him from blogging. Th is family and friends may I offer my condolences and my thanks for a job well done. RIP.

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  36. Desperately sad news. He seemed a kindly man always on the side of the angels when it came to judging his fellow travellers.

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  37. I dipped into the blog today for the first time in some months and was greatly saddened to read this news. I had the pleasure of appearing in front of Mr Bristow over many years (and it was a pleasure) and was always struck by his common sense & humanity, two qualities not often associated with the CJS nowadays.

    My condolences go out to his family and friends. He will be missed and there can be no greater mark of a person than that.

    RIP

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  38. I liked the way you wrote it. Also the subject knowledge is appreciable.

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  39. Earnest sympathies to his family. His administration was valued and his blog was educational.I am so pitiful to peruse this news as I have taken after this blog for quite a long while and constantly thought that it was useful and engaging

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  40. Sad to hear this. His blog was both educational and funny. Especially when at his most cynical.

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  41. I had the pleasure of appearing before Richard (fortunately in a professional capacity) for over a quarter of a century. He was a genuinely caring, thoughtful, firm but fair JP of whom no-one had a bad word to say. RIP Richard, nice knowing you.

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  42. It was Bystander's eloquent words that persuaded me to start blogging nearly ten years ago. I may have been distracted by other things since then, but I have not forgotten him. A sad loss.

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  43. Guessed he was Bystander some time ago. Will be much missed even by some of the villains: he was a fair tribunal.

    Tony Nayager

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  44. I just caught up on my reading and learned this very sad news. It so enjoy reading this blog and that of Inspector Gadget... I offer my heart-felt condolences to his family and friends...

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  45. Oh dear, I'm very sorry to hear that. In his writing he came over as a splendid bloke, besides his sense of service – which was exemplary. I learned a lot from his blog. He once personally helped my family; My sister-in-law had been involved in a very bad traffic accident and had been charged by the police. I left a comment on a relevant blog entry, asking Richard if it sounded legitimate, which I followed up with an email apologising for appropriating the general blog entry in my own personal interest. Not only did Richard reply to the email with a long explanation of why the police had been wrong to use the charge in question and what I should say to them, he also followed it up with a telephone call to me (I had used work email, which included my desk phone number) to make sure I had understood, and to offer his personal best wishes. He didn't know me from Adam but he went to unusual lengths to help me, for which I shall always be grateful. My condolences to his family and friends – I'm guessing there must be a very large, Richard-shaped hole in their lives; I only hope it is of some consequence to them that they were lucky to know such a chap.

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  46. Condolences to Bystander's friends and family.

    I was a regular reader and commenter of his blog back in the heyday of Police and Criminal Justice blogging, I rarely agreed with anything he said, but really appreciated his taking the time to write it.

    RIP Bystander.

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  47. Over a year has passed. His humanity and wisdom is still missed.

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