Friday, June 17, 2016

Suppressio Veri, Suggestio Falsi

In the aftermath of the appalling murder of an MP some commentators are looking at the occasionally poisonous comments made about politicians. The received wisdom of the public is that politicians are dishonest, but that is almost invariably a misreading. If MPs and others had to answer every question frankly, life would be impossible. Most of the usual questions would have to be answered with "I don't know" or "well, I hope that A happens but it might well be B for all I know." The Paxman figure would then rip the interviewee to shreds. So let's give them a break shall we?

Friday, June 10, 2016

A Change of Routine

Some of the most common trials to face JPs nowadays are the Section 172 cases that arise from the ubiquitous speed cameras. Some people (such as Christopher Huhne) simply lie about who was driving the speeding vehicle, and others claim not to know the ID of the driver, but the consequences of being caught can be nasty. These cases tend to be listed in just a few courts, which can be pretty tiresome for the bench members. As it happens these cases are a rarity in my court, so this week the S172 that appeared on my list was the first that I have ever done, in about 30 years on the bench. The evidence was pretty thin, and we acquitted. The clerk told us later that these cases often fail to stick.

They are a tidy source of revenue for the various loophole specialists in the legal profession, as many people will cough up a hefty sum to keep their driving licence.

Friday, June 03, 2016


A colleague whose court has jurisdiction over a major airport tells me that she has recently dealt with a case from 'Operation Jigsaw' the Met Police team that handles repatriated sex offenders.

She told me that a man with 120 and more convictions, many for sex offences, had served time in an antipodean prison, and had been put on a plane to the UK on his release. The magistrates made a highly restrictive order about his future conduct, and he was returned to police custody for the time being.