Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Time And A Half?

The press is carrying some horrible reports of murder terrorism and general mayhem. It may be that there is a surge in these crimes but what is more likely is that the lack of political and celebrity news is forcing journos to give prominence to what they have.
Because the law requires those charged to be brought before a court at the earliest opportunity some members of the judiciary have been on standby over the holiday, as they are over every holiday. The new Chief Magistrate himself was dragged away from his cold turkey sandwiches to deal with a terrorism case yesterday. Every court has to have arrangements in place to deal with out-of-hours stuff, from a humble JP who signs a warrant at 3 am in his pyjamas, to the duty High Court judge to deal with the heavy matters. I live too far from my court to be of much use out of hours, but one (now retired) colleague who lived 300 yards round the corner from the police station became very well acquainted with the oh-my-god-o'clock phone call.
I used to do Saturday morning remand courts, and when I had the right clerk there was never any doubt that I would be able to get to my local by 12.30.
The security staff may get time and a half. The magistrates get their usual nothing. Luckily for the defendants, they don't get time-and-a-half at weekends.

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