Thursday, August 11, 2016

Glad This Wasn't Me!

A judge who was verbally abused by a defendant reciprocated at a court hearing where he was being sentenced for breaching an antisocial behaviour order.
John Hennigan, 50, who had breached the order by using racist language towards a black woman and her two children told Chelmsford crown court judge Patricia Lynch QC that she was “a bit of a cunt”. And Judge Lynch replied: “You are a bit of a cunt yourself.”
When Hennigan screamed back “Go fuck yourself”, the judge replied: “You too.” He reportedly also shouted “Sieg Heil” – a pro-Hitler chant used in Nazi Germany – and banged the glass panel of the dock as he was jailed for 18 months.
Hennigan, from Harlow, Essex, has dozens of previous convictions for offences including drug and firearm possession and common assault.
An asbo was previously imposed on him in 2005 when a swastika was discovered daubed on the front door of his council house.

I can understand the Judge's  reaction, but I have never used that word in court, other than in direct quotation from the evidence.

Perhaps a quiet word from the circuit presider might be in order here.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Enough, Already!

This is not a political blog, although politics inevitably creep in to discussions of matters legal. I have followed politics since I was at school, although I was never elected to anything. The current situation beggars belief, and I imagine that today's crop of journalists will shake their heads in their old age, and say "but you should have been there in the summer of 2016; everything seemed to happen at once. " I am now even more convinced that my belief in the iron Law of Unintended consequences is the right one.

I have had to cut back on my sittings of late, as I am awaiting an operation to give me a new knee joint, and although I can get around in the courthouse it isn't always easy. As I am due to retire from the Bench in late October I have excused myself from getting to grips with some of the more complex innovations that have recently been introduced, such as iPads on the bench. I own a couple of iPads and I am comfortable with using them, but inevitably any government-issued software is over-engineered and the last thing from user-friendly.

My court has a few boxes that contain the iPads as well as charging them overnight, but those JPs who wish to use them have to submit to training as well as an elaborate procedure to keep them secure. It is worse for judges of course, but then they are paid £130k and more to cope.

Given my impending retirement, I cannot summon up the enthusiasm to get stuck in to this 21st century stuff  (albeit the technology is a decade old).

I am trying to avoid becoming what old Army types call demob-happy so I shall concentrate on justice before bureaucracy.