Monday, October 25, 2010

Long Remand

We saw a man last week who was charged with an either-way offence that is often met with a prison sentence. He had been held on remand in custody for nine weeks, and came to court and pleaded guilty. We knew nothing of the bail decision and the reasons for it, and when we assessed the seriousness of the offence we decided that it did indeed pass the custody threshold but that the right sentence was four weeks. So that is what we decided, and I told him that he would be released straight away.
That prompted reactions in the public gallery from helpless sobbing, to arm waving, bowing, and mouthed thanks to the court. We were blessed loudly by a couple of old ladies, who were relieved to be getting their relative back to rejoin his wife and children.
It is unfortunate to say the least that a man has served longer on remand than his offence is worth, but it happens, for all kinds of reasons.

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