Friday, August 18, 2006

Reality Check

When we order pre-sentence reports, required before we impose community sentences or custody, we often have to adjourn the case to allow probation to produce the report. Where drug or psychiatric assessments are required we must adjourn for three weeks to allow the report to be prepared. Up to a third of offenders fail to turn up for the interview, and we saw a couple of them this week.

In the interests of justice we often have (reluctantly) to adjourn for another try, but in each case I accompany the pronouncement with a bit of patter along the lines of:-

"We will have this report, one way or another. We have the power to remand you in custody if that is the only way to get you to an interview. We will send you to prison and the probation officer can visit you there. This next appointment will be the last one on bail. Do you understand?"

This has a dramatic effect in penetrating the often-befuddled brain of the defendant, and to be honest, I have never yet had to carry out my threat.

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