Musings and Snippets from a recently retired JP. I served for 31 years, mostly in west London. I was Chairman of my Bench for some years, and a member of the National Bench Chairmen's Forum All cases are based on real ones, but anonymised and composited. All opinions are those of one or more individuals. JPs swear to enforce the law of the land, whether or not they approve of it. Nothing on here constitutes legal advice.
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
We had a run-of-the-mill day for most of today. A couple of trials did not go ahead (as so many do not) due to the non-appearance of one defendant and two witnesses. We sentenced a few reports cases, dealt with a warrant or six (a job that I passed to the least senior person on our bench as we now consider warrants as individuals, and the experience will have done him good). There was a bit of hanging around, and we suddenly heard that there had been trouble in one of our courtrooms.A prisoner had attempted to escape, and had caused a bit of damage in the process, so that courtroom had to close while police officers investigated. We therefore took a couple of cases from their list, and packed up just before 5 pm. It is so often the dull days that produce a surprise.
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So it was witnessed by, at least, three magistrates, a legal adviser, a prosecutor, a member of the probation team and of course the ever vigilant one or two from Serco who were there to stop it happening at all. I wonder what he will say when he is asked to plead to escaping from custody and criminal damage?ReplyDelete
Unfortunately for him there were no` uniformed thugs `around to detain him so that he could accuse them of police brutality.Delete
...an optimistic assumption that probation are always in court...ReplyDelete
I thought there was no such thing as a senior magistrate but just some who were more experienced than others!ReplyDelete
Even a former bench chairmen goes back to being 'just' another magistrate among many when her/his term of office comes to an end, taking the chair on the day if s/he is a qualified court chairman and is rostered to do so.
Okay, forget the word senior and substitute 'experienced' if you like. Some magistrates are on their third sitting and some are into decades. Even on day two they have full authority to grant or deny a warrant,as well as many other duties. So it is good practice to let the relative newbies have a go at unfamiliar procedures (backed by a clerk). No other implications.ReplyDelete