Now that I am retired having been many years a magistrate with a long awareness of the declining freedoms enjoyed by the ordinary citizen and a corresponding fear of the big brother state`s ever increasing encroachment on civil liberties I hope that my personal observations within these general parameters will be of interest to those with an open mind. Having been blogging with this title for many years against the rules of the Ministry of Justice my new found freedom should allow me to be less inhibited in these observations.




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Friday, 13 December 2013

CONSULTATION IS OFFERED ONLY AS A MEANS TO AN END



I had not intended to post today other matters requiring my urgent attention but reading of the updated Sentencing Guidelines to be operative next April set me thinking.  It would appear that going the round of all the normal focus groups operating under the titles of “magistrates”, “victims` groups”, “medical practitioners” etc etc this august body is creating nothing less than a tick box mentality for sentencing.  It is apparent that judges are not to be trusted to exercise their judgement which presumably was considered to be of the high standard required upon their appointment. The Sentencing Council  has concluded that the opinions of those aforementioned groups and countless others must weigh heavily in the outcomes for offenders convicted of various crimes of a sexual nature.  This obsequious performance is IMHO taking us back hundreds of years in our attitude to punishment which for many was in the hands of the victims or their families……the Italians and others followed the tradition of vendetta.  Many cultures had and still follow a tradition of “blood money” to seek recompense for wrong doing.  And of course the biblical limit on such attitudes is exemplified in the concept of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.  I would argue that in these concepts there is an element of equivalence which will be lacking in the updated Guidelines.  The margin of weight being placed upon victims in determining sentence is straining the concept of equality before the law.  In addition if the opinions of  the people of this country were consulted on bringing back capital punishment for certain forms of murder and with increased safeguards against miscarriages of justice it is not certain that abolitionists would still be in the  majority.  But of course consultation stops when a government is fearful of the resulting  conclusions. 

2 comments:

  1. As an aside: I believe that magistrates are no longer trusted to sentence for sex offences in the youth courts; don't know if that yet applies in adult courts.

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  2. Hi is it possible to complain about a magistrate judge who signed a 135 warrant to have me sectioned that did not have my name on it? I was not a mental health patient and evidnce presented by social worker to the judge was hersay.

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