Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Not To Be Missed

This programme, available for a limited time on iPlayer, should be seen by every magistrate and by everyone who wants to know about the people who pass through the lower courts. I have sat at Highbury Corner (where the film was made) on occasion, and it is almost as grim on the inside as it is on the outside.
The offenders who speak to the camera on their way into court (and if they are lucky, on the way out) are sad, damaged, and frightened in most cases.
I have dealt with hundreds of people like this. I feel only compassion and pity for the state in which they find themselves, but like every other sentencer I am trained to know that my first duty is to sentence the offence, and not the offender.
Any magistrate will recognise the need to set aside personal feelings, even faced with pathetic human detritus such as we see in this film. It will never be easy though.
I cleave to no formal religion, but I cannot quarrel with: "Hate the sin, and love the sinner".

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