March 06, 2012
First Taste Of Scottish Justice
Just back from the JPs court. What a shambles.
They called my case number and my name, I just stood up and walked to the microphone.
The Procurator Fiscals Depute asks "Are you still at this address?" (She reads out the address) I didn't move a muscle or say a word. (I didn't really have time).
She immediately turned to the JP sat on the throne behind her and all I heard her say was "...this is the one that...".
JP says to me: "Are you pleading guilty or not guilty?"
Me: "I am not pleading anything".
JP: "You have to plead one way or the other".
Me: "How can I plead when I have seen no evidence? All I have from the PF is words on a bit of paper."
JP: "You have to plead".
Me: "I can't plead either way until I have seen the evidence against me. Where is the photographic evidence?
My jaw nearly dropped when I heard him mutter "Irrelevant" or "Not relevant", then slightly louder, "Do you think you are guilty or not guilty?"
Me: "Based on the lack of evidence here today I would say I am not guilty".
JP: "Very good. Come back here on the x July for an Intermediate Diet at 10 am. Trial is set for xx July. Next case!"
Me: "Can I ask a question?"
JP: "No. We're done".
So I left.
Is that what passes for justice? The whole event took less than a minute.
I sat through around 40 other cases and I have to say that the JP was remarkably fair. Some people really did strain belief that they had "turned their lives around" and he admonished a few, but fined the majority. The average fine was £200 and some of them pay it off at £10 a fortnight. One guy who pleaded guilty to travelling at 82mph in a 60mph zone got fined £60 and 3 penalty points. I counted up to about £6,000 before I got bored with it. I don't imagine any of them rushing to pay their fines.
I dressed well, but no-one else appearing before him made any effort whatsoever. Raggy jeans, hoodies, and sweat pants were the order of the day. Drugs, theft, driving without insurance, benefit cheats, drunken behaviour and a couple of other misdemeanour's were heard. One guy appeared from custody, thinking he was getting out today, but he had committed some offence whilst out on bail. The JP listened to the guys lawyer for a minute then said "Seven days. Take him out".
All quite bizarre if you haven't seen it before.
So now I have to get my thinking head on. I need to find out what this diet is all about. I'm partial to bacon butties. And chips. I like chips.
I also need to know what they know, so I will request this photographic evidence they are alleged to possess. If they did have it, why would they not produce it in court today? And if they didn't have it, why not? By their own rules that evidence should have been sent to the court at least seven days in advance of the hearing.
A real mystery.