Monday, October 17, 2016

Something And Nothing

I sat today in a bench of two with a liked and respected colleague who is to retire in a couple of months when she reaches seventy (although you would never guess it)..Before the off, we fantasised about how bulletproof we felt, as disregarding the guidelines could at worst result in ejection from the bench that would take longer than we have left to sit.

We dealt mostly with breaches of community orders: the miscreants were mostly addled by drugs, and immune to letters or calls from probation. I was obliged, several times, to explain in plain language that it was the defendant's reponsibility to stay in touch with probation, rather than the other way round.

Our powers are limited in these cases, so I went home doubting that we had achieved very much.


  1. Disagree. Nothing much might have changed this afternoon. However, you have cleared one obstracle before the repeat offender arrives back in court, chances used up, and the public will finally get respite from him/her for a period of time in chokey.

  2. Good to see you back

  3. In such situations, what further powers would you like, if not for yourself, for future JPs?

  4. One of my ex magistrate colleagues told me he was out recently when a man he didn’t know approached him. He was asked if he had been a magistrate and said yes. “I thought I recognised you” said the stranger. My friend was rather concerned about what might happen next but the stranger then said “You gave me a DRR a while ago. I had had one before but I wasn’t ready to come off drugs. When I did the one you gave me I was ready, I came off drugs, I haven’t touched them since and I want to thank you for what you did”.

    Sometimes we just never know when we sentence.

    PS: - A DRR is a Drug Rehabilitation Requirement.

  5. " the public will finally get respite from him/her for a period of time in chokey."

    Only the non taxpaying public. The rest of us will be lumbered with the huge cost of keeping him in jail.


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