Saturday, August 08, 2009

Corfu Curfew

Many would see me as a card-carrying member of the Liberal Elite - a Guardian-reading muesli-munching do-gooder.

And most of the time you would be 100% correct.

However, there are occasions when events in court turn me into "Angry of Tunbridge Wells".

Like the case of the woman who missed going to jail by a whisker and ended up with an all-you-can-eat buffet of punishments, one of which was a curfew.

"Curfew ? Like with a tag ?" she said, when she should have been leaving the court backwards expressing her gratitude to us for not banging her up.

"Yes. With a tag." the chairman explained "That's how we know that you are actually at home when you're supposed to be".

In reply she started waving a plastic folder and making crazy eyes at her brief, who suddenly remembered something and stood up.

"Your Worships, I apologise. I should have said something before, but my client has booked a foreign holiday in two weeks time and respectfully asks that the curfew requirement be suspended for the week they are away and for the week to be added to the end of the sentence."

That's the point where my inner Tabloid Editorialist woke up.

"How dare you ! You want to slouch off to Greece for some Sun, Sea and Sex while your victim is barely out of hospital ! You make me sick ! You should thank your lucky stars you're not in prison - and the loss of your holiday should be a blooming lesson to you."

But of course that's not what's happening. The day before the flight, the electronic tag comes off so she can go to the airport without setting off all sorts of alarms. Then she can lie on the beach and not come back with a tag-shaped white splodge on her ankle spoiling her all-over tan.

I guess it was within our powers to insist, but I suspect very rarely do Magistrates object. If we were jailing her, we wouldn't have taken account of her holiday plans, so why should we with a curfew ?


Kenny said...

Allow me to be your Telegraph reading alter-ego...

Is there a law against audacity? If not, there should be one. And the penalty should be six months in the klinkerhoffen.

Stan said...

If there were such a law we'd have to bang up half the lawyers ...

... come to think of it you might be onto something there

phatboy said...

I think you were wrong to let her go on the holiday. Personally, I'd have been concerned that she would fail to abide by the curfew and so would have given very serious consideration to some gaol time!

To be honest, I can't think of a Crown Court judge who would have allowed this to happen.

Stan said...

Thanks for the comment, phatboy : here's a Crown Court judge who did allow it in much worse circumstances, much to the horror of the Daily Mail.

Next time I might not be so accommodating, but it will depend on the offence and it will depend on the offender.