Monday, February 23, 2015


Will Straw is the son of former Home Secretary Jack Straw. After being president of the National Union of Students, Jack went to work for the late Barbara Castle, and in due course he slipped smoothly into her seat in the Commons.

By an amazing coincidence, young Will has been selected to stand for the adjacent constituency of Rossendale and Darwen.. Well, I say coincidence, but I suppose something might have slipped under the radar, as the saying goes.

If you do a search for Jack Straw on this blog, you will see that I am not his greatest admirer. Will must be cursing his luck at this latest affair.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Rich, Spoilt, Irresponsible Bastards

My wife and I have just returned home from from a lovely week in North Wales. Our cottage was comfortable with stunning views across Conwy harbour. Being out of the holiday season (although we were blessed with three sunny days) the roads were quiet and for once we travelled at our own modest speed rather than that of the cars in front.

The A55 runs east-west across the North Wales coast, and is of near-motorway standard. The other evening we were on our way back from a trip round Anglesey and my wife was driving at a relaxed sixty-something as I contemplated the dinner to come. Suddenly, with a blast of noise, we were overtaken by a Lamborghini, followed at a few car lengths, by a Ferrari. I do not presume to estimate their precise speed, but they appeared to be racing or in convoy, and their speed was, at a conservative guesstimate, well into the realm of double the national 70 mph limit.

Then they were gone. A mile up the road was a gathering of Heddlu cars (Welsh for police, I am told) but they would have had no chance of doing anything about the hooligans in their £150,000 worth of toys, even if their diesel Skodas had been up to the job.

All right, nobody died, but the drivers concerned took a calculated risk with others' lives. My magistrate's instincts kicked in, and I saw this as a clear Dangerous Driving matter, calling for heavy fines, and, most importantly, substantial driving bans. They can throw money at their cars, but it's loss of licence that really hits home.

I rarely do traffic cases since they have been hived off into special courts, but sometimes I would like a flip-up sign on my car saying "If you knew I was a magistrate you might not have done that".

Pure fantasy, of course.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Monday, February 09, 2015

Even Clouseau Was Better Than This

This is an outrage.

For one thing it is the sort of thing that the Stasi used to specialise in, and for another what the hell is going on in the command structure of this police force?

Friday, February 06, 2015

I Think You Are Right There M'Lud

I understand that Lord Thomas, the Lord Chief Justice (so my boss) has expressed doubts about the practice in most criminal courts of putting the defendant into a secure glass dock. Unless there is a good reason to prevent escape, or assault on court staff, we never allow a defendant to be handcuffed, because that might prejudice him in the sight of the jury or bench. I have seen a handful of cases over the years in which cuffs were allowed, but in most cases there is no real need to lock the defendant in a glass cell, especially if he is unconvicted. Let's see how this turns out.

Only The Best

We sent a credit card fraudster up to the Crown Court for sentence last week. He had a string of previous convictions, and the latest set showed sophistication and planning. The totality of his offending pushed him past the Too Serious For Us test.

The total amount of the latest frauds was well over £19,000, mostly on travel to exotic places. I was struck by the fact that our man had chosen to fly  business class. Clearly he had no wish to rough it with the hoi polloi at the back of the plane. He is now in less-than-luxurious accommodation, paid for by the taxpayer.