Sunday, April 09, 2006

Judicial Influence, Or Judicial Interference

Whilst at my local Magistrates Court this week I had to deal with a Client who had been arrested for his third breach of bail in four months, he was also appearing in Court for a new offence. The scenario for this Client is not too dissimilar to that found in many Courts in the land. An allegation of domestic violence is made, an arrest is made, the Defendant is charged and usually is released with strict bail conditions to prevent any further contact with the Complainant. Usually the parties resolve their differences before the trial comes to Court and at some point the Defendant is arrested for breaching his bail conditions because he either commits a further offence, or an allegation is made that he has committed a further offence (there is a difference).

My Client claimed that he had reconciled his differences with his partner but she still used the threat of arrest for breach of bail to control him should they have an argument. Please note that I am making no comment on whether my Client's account was the truth or not, also I do not advocate or support domestic violence in any form.

My Client appeared in custody in Court and he accepted that he was in breach of his bail, but stated that he had breached his bail at the invitation of the Complainant because he had been living at her address for the past few weeks despite there being a bail condition that he have no contact with her. I decided that the only way that my Client might get bail after accepting a third breach of bail was to explain to the Court that the Defendant and Complainant were more or less reconciled. Upon hearing my submissions the District Judge shook his head and said words to the effect of, "Will someone please contact the victim and find out what she wants to do about this?" This was a rather bizarre course of action, but one that I was certainly not going to object to.

A few hours later and the Witness Liaison arm of the Crown Prosecution Service had telephoned the Complainant who said that she wanted the Defendant to be released on unconditional bail and that she was going to withdraw all allegations against him.

As a result of this judicial influence, or perhaps judicial interference, my Client was released on unconditional bail. Had it not been for the judge's words this would never have happened.


PC Disillusioned said...

Sensible, in abizarre kind of way. Kudos to the judge.

Anonymous said...

Sad that this kind of sensible approach is the exeption, not the rule.

Bystander said...

It certainly happens that way in my court. The defence will talk to the CPS before the case comes on, and will often bring the woman (it's always a woman) to court. We have to be realistic, but like all bail decisions it is a judgement call. said...

What's the odds that he'll beat her up again and be re-arrested within the next three months?

Anonymous said...

Hi Gavin,

That's a very nice blog!
I am student of law in my country ( Brazil) but I lived in London for a year and it's been very important to me keep in touch with the news from there and also, learning a bit more of british law!
Thank you.

Gavin said...


I would give you about 3-1 odd on that he commits a similar offence.