Wednesday, March 30, 2011

All In A Day's Work

The Remand Court is usually busy as a stream of defendants pass before the bench, some in custody, most on bail. We never know what we are going to get, and in the main court last week, among the 50 or so cases we saw were few odd ones. A woman in her thirties was charged with Class A possession. We heard that she is a struggling single mother who ekes out her benefits by working as a dancer in a club. It is the practice to have a whip-round the punters so that they can show their appreciation of the girls; one donated a wrap of cocaine instead of the usual cash, or so she told us. She knew what it was, so didn't have a defence. A normally-respectable man of 30 with no previous convictions got himself very drunk, and was chucked out of the function he was attending. He blundered into a storeroom and the door clicked shut behind him. He smashed his way through two doors to get out, using a metal bar that he found. The alarm went off and he was arrested. He was mortified to be in court, and kept apologising and saying how ashamed he was of his behaviour. We ordered him to pay nearly £5000 for the damage and put a £2000 fine on top. Oh yes, and a £15 surcharge. He paid the lot by credit card on his way out. As I said to him, that was a very expensive drink. Unusually for these days we saw a breach of the peace, for which the only penalty is a bindover that doesn't count as a conviction. The woman concerned wasn't having it though and we had to run a very emotional trial there and then, so we were late breaking for lunch, having found the breach proved and imposed a bindover.
Then there was an ordinary-looking man, neatly dressed and blinking as he stood in the dock. He is charged with rape of a 14 year-old girl and indecently assaulting a six year-old. We were slightly surprised when the CPS did not oppose bail but they told us that the police were satisfied that ordering him to live with his brother in North Wales would keep him away from the victims. By the time we got away at ten to five I was ready for a nice pint in my local.

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