Friday, September 26, 2008

A Good Man Comes To Grief

This blog, along with almost all police blogs, inevitably focuses on the mad the bad and the sad in society. When faced, as police and magistrates are, with a virtually unending parade of people whose behaviour has been unpleasant, inexplicable, confused, selfish, wicked, and downright nasty, it is easy to form a jaded view of our fellow man.
Many of our clientele fit into the above categories: - many, but not all.
A while ago we saw a man in his fifties charged with a traffic offence - the details do not matter. This man had led a blameless life, without any kind of brush with the law, until he came to face me and my colleagues. His plea was one of not guilty, so there was a trial. In the course of the proceedings he more or less admitted the elements of the offence, so despite his lawyer's best efforts we convicted him - a result that did not surprise the lawyer, nor, I suspect, the defendant.
He is a dignified, hard working, honest family man. He is rightly proud of his respectability, and I am pretty sure that his hopeless plea of not guilty was based on his inner faith that as a decent citizen the justice system and he would never collide. But traffic law is different, and liability can be absolute. He had his day in court, and although we kept the fine right down at the bottom of the scale he still had to pay a few hundred pounds in costs to the CPS, not to mention the ludicrous victim surcharge.
He will never read this, but if he did, I would like to be able to tell him that despite losing his case he left the court with his dignity and his good name intact. I wish him well.

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