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Showing posts from May, 2012

Magistrates make me mad part 2

A few months ago I wrote about an encounter I had with a lay magistrate.

As it says in the comments section I did eventually decide to make a complaint.

Today I received a letter from the Bench Chairman informing me that the magistrate in question "... agrees that her conduct was not acceptable..." and states that the JP in question will be refered for further training.

I can honestly say I did not expect such an honest and open response.

Why won't they charge?

I've mentioned the apparent lack of enthusiasm the police and CPS seem to have for charging people with crimes and as I sit here billing I am seeing yet more examples of it.

I won't go into detail, but one case I have is very simple and clear cut.  Ex-partners meet up to discuss sale of former home.  One of them gets upset and punches the other in the face several times causing minor injuries.  The suspect is obviously known to the complainant so no ID issues. 

Result: no further action.

Policing the roads - Bike Safe

I spent a rather enjoyable Sunday riding around with the Surrey motorcycle police as part of the Bike Safe programme that many police forces run across the country.

I can only imagine the confusion that some motorists must have felt seeing me fly past both them and a fully marked police rider as we practised overtaking.  I even felt a bit sorry for one silly sod who seemed barely able to ride a motorbike and found himself and his expired tax disc in the middle of a big group of policemen.

The day was good fun despite the early tellings off from the officer observing me to stop speeding - both I and the other rider who spent the day with us found it very difficult to keep the bikes at low speeds especially on the more open roads - and generally doing things that we all do everyday in London, but which are not seen so often on rural Surrey roads.

I learnt quite a lot from the day and would definitely recommend it to anybody else who rides a motorbike and who would like a few tips on imp…

The future of the Bar & drug driving

There was a bit of a debate on Twitter last night about solicitor-advocates in the Crown Court.  These debates generally annoy me a lot.  As with last night they'll kick off with a barrister saying something that ridicules or undermines solicitors with no factual basis.  For example, last night the theme was, would solicitors keep a case for themselves even if a barrister would do a "better" job.  In other words, do solicitors ignore their professional obligations and act even where there is a conflict between their personal interests and those of their client?

Now, this is frankly offensive to me as a solicitor.

The Solicitors Practice Rules have long contained rules that require solicitors to put their clients' interests before their own.  There is nothing different between the rule that has existed for a very long time and the current position with solicitors deciding whether or not to instruct Counsel.

Many of the arguments I hear from the Bar is put in the abstr…

Go through with your threats

I was court duty today.  I was sat in court minding my own business when I heard the judge mention my name.  I hadn't been listening since I wasn't involved in the case and I'd decided to actually read at least one copy of the Guardian, which I subscribed to on a whim about a month ago and haven't accessed since.

Anyway, I somehow feel that I may be straying from the point.

Turned out that the judge was trying to fathom why the defendant hadn't attended either of his appointments with probation for a pre-sentence report to be prepared and she was asking me to speak to him.  The judge made it clear to the defendant that unless he could explain why he failed to attend to the appointments satisfactorily she would remand him in custody to allow the report to be prepared.

I took him outside and tried to explain the seriousness of the situation; however, he continually told me that he missed the appointments because a close relative went into hospital a week ago.  I aske…

Meet your strawman

This is the first time I've tried to include a video on a post, so hopefully the link works.

Bystander on the Magistrate's Blog has previously talked about the people who seem to think that they are only bound by Common Law and not by statute. 

They are in a world of their own.  Some people have suggested that they are mentally ill, but they aren't.  The majority seem to be extreme examples of what happens when you know a little bit about a subject... just enough for that knowledge to be harmful.

The lady in the video asks for help.  The only advice I can give is to stop being so silly as to think the law doesn't apply to you.

I don't know who the police officer in the video is, but I must congratulate him on remaining so calm and polite when faced with such an onslaught of utter rubbish.

Incidentally, I have no idea what the title of this post means, but it seems important to people like the lady in the video, you can read more about their very interesting views …

Underhand political campaigning

Yesterday I received two odious messages from very different sources.

The first was a phishing email purporting to be from the widow of a Japanese ambassador who is herself on her death bed in hospital who wonders whether I would kindly take care of her son's $15M trust fund until such time as her son "clocks" 21.  It's a scam.  Yet another variant on the advance fee fraud - now she asks for my help, but if I agree then a problem will arise that only a payment from me can solve, but it's okay because that payment will give me access to $15M.  You get the idea.

The other message was a letter from Mr Brett Harrison.  I have no idea who Mr Harrison is, but unless you look very closely it appears he has decided to send me a handwritten note explaining that he is a former Conservative Party worker who voted for Boris at the last mayoral election and who used to work for the police.  He is now completely anti-Boris.  Partly because he says Boris has cut police numbers,…