Thursday, March 07, 2013
Taking The Rough With The Smooth
Some days in court can be non-stop, with a constant stream of defendants coming before us for decisions on bail, mode of trial, sentencing and the rest. There might be a trial, perhaps a short one-hour job, or a two or three day case. All are interesting and potentially challenging in their own way, but just occasionally the daily list offers only tedium. Non-CPS work such as unpaid council tax, bus fares, fishing licences can be formulaic and repetitive, especially as the overwhelming majority of defendants do not turn up. The only challenge used to be finding a realistic fine for someone with next to no money. Nowadays, we just look up a printed matrix that often gives an excessive and unfair result on to which we add the new and inflexible surcharge. Not many of us like that.