A tale from you know where by raistlin (Page 1 of 3)


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raistlin
Not sure if you are aware, but the Magistrates' Court has the power to remit existing fines, up to 100% if the Bench see it as being in the interests of justice to do so.

An example might be somebody who has a history of paying their fines regularly and promptly who suddenly falls upon hard times. If we think that the individual has learned their lesson, and there is evidence of a rapid and severe change of financial circumstances, rather than setting them up to fail we will remit fines. Let me tell you though that it is a rarity indeed.

A young woman stood before my Bench today, admitting a charge of theft from a shop. It was obvious that she had been "around the block a few times", as she conducted her defence equally as well as her long suffering solicitor.

We fined her and the brief asked for it to be consolidated with her on-going fines, which, for a single mother of two on benefits, was an eye-watering £1250 approximately. To this was to be added today's fine of £120 plus costs, which she repays at a standard rate of £10 per fortnight.

She then attracted her solicitor's attention and, excusing himself, turned his back and had a brief but clearly disagreeable discussion.

He turned back to us and said, "Your Worships, I am instructed to ask for my client's fines to be remitted in toto."

I must admit to not having seen that coming and I asked him for an explanation to which he replied that he thought it best for his client to explain directly.

So I asked her to do just that.

She pulled herself up to her full 5ft 6in of haughty disdain and said,

"I would prefer to buy Christmas for myself and my kids but with these fines payments, and now you're adding more, I can't afford to so if you don't remit them, it'll be your fault that I have to go out thieving to get the Christmas me and the brats rightly deserve".

A cogent argument, I thought.
Paul

Cogito ergo sum... maybe?

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Posted 14 Nov 2012, 19:58 #1 

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takestock
You of course agreed to her reasonable request........ :gmc:
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Dave....

Posted 14 Nov 2012, 22:06 #2 

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raistlin
takestock wrote:You of course agreed to her reasonable request........ :gmc:


Unfortunately, we had to decline.
Paul

Cogito ergo sum... maybe?

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Posted 14 Nov 2012, 22:56 #3 

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takestock
Bah humbug.....:D
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Dave....

Posted 15 Nov 2012, 17:49 #4 

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Bermudan 75
raistlin wrote:
takestock wrote:You of course agreed to her reasonable request........ :gmc:


Unfortunately, we had to decline.


Top man !!!!

:thumbsup: :clap:
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Posted 16 Nov 2012, 12:33 #5 

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James.uk
She has a point hough. We really aught to find some other way of punishing people who have little or no income. Fining them simply exacerbates the problem... :(

Posted 17 Nov 2012, 23:22 #6 

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raistlin
James.uk wrote:She has a point hough. We really aught to find some other way of punishing people who have little or no income. Fining them simply exacerbates the problem... :(


Any ideas James?
Paul

Cogito ergo sum... maybe?

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Posted 18 Nov 2012, 08:47 #7 

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takestock
Naked star jumps :D :D :D
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Dave....

Posted 18 Nov 2012, 09:32 #8 

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raistlin
takestock wrote:Naked star jumps :D :D :D


You didn't see her. :lol:

But seriously, what should we do?
Paul

Cogito ergo sum... maybe?

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Posted 18 Nov 2012, 09:39 #9 

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MrDoodles
James.uk wrote: We really aught to find some other way of punishing people who have little or no income.


We have, it's called jail!
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Posted 18 Nov 2012, 09:48 #10 

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raistlin
MrDoodles wrote:We have, it's called jail!


For a theft from shop worth £10?
Paul

Cogito ergo sum... maybe?

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Posted 18 Nov 2012, 09:58 #11 

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takestock
There are people that choose or are trapped in this way of life, their priorities appear different to others IE: The top of their list of needs is full sky package, fast broadband and games station, not having money to pay bills etc. Maybe an option would be to have the providers cut these necessities from offenders addresses.
OK maybe not as simple as that but an idea of an alternative? :)
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Dave....

Posted 18 Nov 2012, 11:03 #12 


Jumper
A theft of £10 value? At retail margins it's probably £3. But added to all the 'previous' the amount obviously means nothing to the offender and therefore an alternative mindset must be sought to effect a Pavlovian change of step.

What about:

‘The imposition of fines following your continuing refusal to stop stealing other peoples’ property appears to have no effect on your behaviour, or your sporadic assurances that you will reform. In addition, it is becoming increasingly meaningless to proceed down the path of futility in imposing yet further fines.

In a final effort to persuade you that your chosen path has reached a fork in the road, (long pause and wide eyed confrontational assault) we will not impose a fine on this occasion. We also will not remit your previous fines and you must continue to repay your indebtedness to the public purse.

However, we do take this opportunity to inform you that if in the future you are brought before the bench for a repeated offence of similar nature you will be subject to a custodial sentence, to be determined by the bench at such a time, and your precious children will be looked after by alternative caring and loving in locus parenti . Their long term custody may be in question. Please make no mistake about the severity with which we view your appearance here today.’

Posted 18 Nov 2012, 14:19 #13 

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MrDoodles
raistlin wrote:
MrDoodles wrote:We have, it's called jail!


For a theft from shop worth £10?


I'm not advocating jail for a 1st time offence, but this woman is a serial offender!
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Posted 18 Nov 2012, 14:49 #14 

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Mick
(Site Admin)
Community service?
Perhaps with some small remuneration over and above the probable state assistance already in place. This may sound like a reward for being a thief but on the other hand there may be the slim chance it may instil a work ethic in some. I would only advocate this for some, such as the person in this case, where their excuse is a lack of money ( should that really be the case).
I'm sure anything we come up with has already been thought through by whomever decides on fit punishment. However, fining someone who is unlikely to be able to pay is self defeating.

Posted 18 Nov 2012, 15:18 #15 

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raistlin
MrDoodles wrote:I'm not advocating jail for a 1st time offence, but this woman is a serial offender!


So you'd still advocate custody for a £10 theft with previous convictions?

She has been in custody on several occasions, each time costing the country thousands in child care, and clearly disrupting the lives of her children just when they should be stable.

Custody it seems, doesn't have a deterrent effect, so what would be your next step?

No trick questions here, I'm partially playing Devil's advocate and interested to see the thought processes of others.
Paul

Cogito ergo sum... maybe?

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Posted 18 Nov 2012, 15:22 #16 

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raistlin
She is unable to do work in the community owing to her drug habit.
Paul

Cogito ergo sum... maybe?

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Posted 18 Nov 2012, 15:23 #17 

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MrDoodles
How about 48 hours in the stocks?

Failing that, how about the birch?

Not sure too many would want a repeat of either!
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Posted 18 Nov 2012, 15:38 #18 

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Mick
(Site Admin)
raistlin wrote:She is unable to do work in the community owing to her drug habit.


I presume this is Heroin in which case "a hiding to nothing". Ultimately a rehabilitation programme is the only long term answer, which of course is a colossal amount from the public purse plus the care component for the children. The willingness for a long term user to accept the rigours of rehab and all that goes with it during and after is a very daunting prospect and not something for the courts, the user has to want it more than their drugs and the concomitant lifestyle. As I understand it, access to rehab is limited and requires total commitment from the participant over many years to prove that it will be a worthwhile course of action.

I have the deepest sympathy for the kids.

Posted 18 Nov 2012, 15:51 #19 

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raistlin
MrDoodles wrote:How about 48 hours in the stocks?

Failing that, how about the birch?

Not sure too many would want a repeat of either!


I thought you were going to be serious Mark :lol:
Paul

Cogito ergo sum... maybe?

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Posted 18 Nov 2012, 15:57 #20 


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