Sunday, March 01, 2009

So, you want to be a Magistrate - Part II

The witness/victim is the landlady of a pub that is the source of a fair percentage of the court's workload. She is slight and middle-aged, but with a formidable strength of character.

The wooden top of the witness box is at just the right height to resemble a bar, and she leans over into the court, very much at ease, as if she were holding forth at her pub.

She tells the story of a closing-time scuffle, and her account rings true and she easily and good humouredly deals with the defence solicitor's attempts to attack her and her story. I can clearly see why her pub is so popular.

This defence solicitor then has the unenviable task of convincing us that this woman, for no good reason, decided to insult and assault a bunch of well-known psychos in her pub.

It is of course possible that this happened, but we found enough evidence to be sure "beyond reasonable doubt" that she did nothing of the kind. We dealt out some punishment to the psycho-in-chief and it felt good to be part of a process that protected a local businesswoman and punished a local thug.

It's that feeling that makes it all worthwhile for me. If you believe that justice should be done and you care about your community, sign-up to become a Magistrate here.

But make sure you read Part I of this tale. Both events happened to me on the same day. It's not always rewarding, but it's not always depressing either.

If you are thinking of applying, you need to know that this job has extremes and you have to be prepared to take it all.

Or as Judge Turner said in the much-quoted Shippey case :

"You can't pick out the Plums and leave the Duff behind."


Her Maggis said...

I firmly believe that the day one thinks 'so what' about any case is the day one should quit - so thanks for having hands willing to share the thoughts and doubts of - surely - all of us?
Ok to try and get a smile. On telling defendant to remove hands from pockets
'I can't, I'm holding me lager can.'
'Well, please don't then'
'I gotta, it's open and it's me larst one'

Stan said...

Thanks for the smile, HM. As you can tell there was little enough to smile at the other day.