Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Doomed

I went to my local Magistrates Court today. A man was in the cells as it was alleged that he had breached his bail conditions. I spoke with the Prosecutor and obtained some papers on the case before going down to the cells to visit the man. When I spoke to the Serco Custody Staff I was told that the man had his own solicitor and that that firm of solicitors had asked if I could phone them. I was later instructed to act on their behalf.

I spoke with the man and asked him a few questions:

Q: It is alleged that you breached your bail because you had a condition not to sit in the front seat of a car, and you were arrested sitting in the front seat of a car?
A: [Low grumbling noise, then man lifts his head off of the interview room table] No! They is lying. I was standing outside the car. They is lying. I'm not havin' that. They is lying.
Q: So you disagree.
A: [Low grumbling noise, then man lifts his head off of the interview room table again] Yes, I want bail man. I 'aint stayin here again. I want bail.

We did not really get off to a good start, the man even sucked air through his front teeth - and that really gets on my nerves. After explaining that if the man wanted to contest the allegation of breach of bail he would have to go through a mini trial today and challenge the evidence of the Police he instructed me to tell the CPS Prosecutor that he did not accept the breach of bail. As this man had presented himself as being unpleasant and clearly thought that I was his skivvy I was happy to act upon his instructions that were doomed to result in failure. I warned the man that he was more likely to be given bail again if he were to accept the overwhelming evidence that he had breached his bail as the Prosecutor had already given me an indication that he would not ask for a remand in to custody if the breach of bail was accepted. Despite my warning I was again instructed to pursue the breach of bail hearing as the man's instructions were that he was not going to accept the alleged breach.

When the man's case was called on the evidence of the Police Officer who spoke with the Client whilst he was sat in the front seat of a car was read to the Court. The man gave oral evidence and disputed that he was ever sat in the front seats of the car. He looked at some still pictures taken from CCTV footage produced by the Prosecutor and simply sucked air through his teeth. It was a complete shambles. I used the phrase, "I am instructed to..." on a number of occasions to make it known that I thought the man's case had no merit but I was told by the man to make the application anyway. Eventually the Magistrates decided that the breach of bail had been proved and they then decided to remand the man in to custody.

Following the hearing I saw the man in the cells and explained why he had been remanded in to custody. He then asked if I would take his car keys and get someone to pick up his car as he did not want it to get clamped. I told the man that I was going to have nothing to do with his car and that his usual solicitors would see him very soon.

I left Court feeling somewhat smug that this man had failed to listen to me warn him that the evidence was overwhelming, and that as a consequence of his refusal to listen to me (and probably everybody who he came in to contact with) that he had remanded himself in to custody.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good to see you back Gavin.

Bystander said...

There are more people locked up for failing the Attitude Test than for practically anything, are there not?

Lucius said...

"I used the phrase, "I am instructed to..." on a number of occasions to make it known that I thought the man's case had no merit but I was told by the man to make the application anyway"

Shouldn't you defend him to the best of your ability, regardless? Or am I being naive?

If your own solicitor is indicating to the court that you're a liar, that's a very poor show.

miffedplod said...

Lucius, you are being naive.

Gavin, tremendous.

Sholto Barnett-Fisher said...

Ah ha you have tipped the Beak off and given the game away to the Mags. Compassion fatigue i imagine. Did you say the PC didn't give evidence and if so why not?

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