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Domestic Violence: How's this work?

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Re: Domestic Violence: How's this work?

Postby Spankymonkey » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:19 pm

An excellent site in general. Thanks Atticus for making us aware of it.

As you are on the topic Maz, I read this last night and did wonder what your thoughts would be on this:

https://thesecretbarrister.com/2015/08/ ... gistrates/

"They are slow. They will take an hour to deal with a hearing that will take a professional District Judge a couple of minutes. They are entirely unrepresentative of those in respect of whom they sit in judgment, in age, social background, culture, ethnicity and class. They are predisposed to accepting prosecution – in particular police officers’ – evidence, where juries tend to analyse with a greater, deserved degree of scepticism. They will variously misunderstand, misapply or blatantly ignore basic principles of law, such as the presumption of innocence. The decree of the Queen of Hearts presiding over the trial of the stolen tarts – “Sentence first – verdict afterwards” – acts as the adopted motto of much magistrates’ court justice."
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Re: Domestic Violence: How's this work?

Postby dls » Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:53 am

Magistrates are certainly capable of making bad decisions, and some do and regularly, but so do professional judges whether district judges or better. Similarly magistrates can take an hour to decide something which a DJ can decide in a minute but perhaps the proper decision requires ten minutes. There are good and bad in both. That doesn't make for a spectacular excoriation but it is true.

DJs can be under extreme pressure to whip through their list.

Both are, with occasional particular occasional exceptions worthy of well earned respect.
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Re: Domestic Violence: How's this work?

Postby Maz JP » Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:16 am

Spankymonkey wrote:An excellent site in general. Thanks Atticus for making us aware of it.

As you are on the topic Maz, I read this last night and did wonder what your thoughts would be on this:
Well. I'm not going to agree with someone who obviously had (as we all sometimes do) a bad day in Court! And, just as I would never begin any sentence with the words "All defence lawyers are..." I rather think he is equally foolish to make broad-sweeping generalisations, not least because necessarily it will involve making errors of fact.

For instance...
They are entirely unrepresentative of those in respect of whom they sit in judgement, in age, social background, culture, ethnicity and class.

This may well be partly true in some parts of the country, but as a general statement it fails. I have myself noted that, as employers become less willing to allow their employees to take time out for their civic duties, and that this is resulting in magistrates becoming less diverse, so no argument that we really need to be aware of this and make improvements, but "entirely unrepresentative" is patently false. I work in an inner city court, and our gender, culture and ethnic balance, for instance, is not at all bad.

I would argue that if society wants a magistracy that is truly representative of those that it judges, then that society has to create an environment in which this can happen (by rewarding companies, for example, who allow their staff to have time off for judicial duties).

They are slow. They will take an hour to deal with a hearing that will take a professional District Judge a couple of minutes.
Again, more exaggeration (or is it generalisation?). I do know that District Judges are necessarily faster than magistrates (no conversations required, if only one person is there), but is speed really a criterion of exceptional value in evaluating justice?

For example, my Bench and I got through a list of 35 remand cases yesterday, and allowing for the time it took to get them into Court etc, that means that on average we allocated 10 minutes to each case. Is that so slow? (I would suggest that many of the defendants thought we were going too fast). Is there any real merit in only allowing each case half of that time, for example?

So, no, I wouldn't exactly say we were exceptionally slow : but conversations do allow for checks and balances, which is perhaps why the majority of successful appeals at Crown Courts come in cases that were previously adjudicated by DJ's, not magistrates. From this, one might argue that more speed therefore means more mistakes, although I accept that correlation is not causation.

They will variously misunderstand, misapply or blatantly ignore basic principles of law, such as the presumption of innocence.
This is either palpable invention (it's a blog, after all, not an authoritative analysis), or the writer has been to places of which I have never heard.

And I of course have fallen into your trap and been excessively defensive. Ho hum.

And all when I could just have quoted dls, and added "I agree" to his post...
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Re: Domestic Violence: How's this work?

Postby Hairyloon » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:37 am

I am prepared to accept the argument that custodial sentences have little effect on the rate of re-offending, but I am less convinced about their value as a deterrent to stop people offending in the first place.
Nor can I think of any means of collecting evidence to find out either way.
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Re: Domestic Violence: How's this work?

Postby Spankymonkey » Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:10 pm

Maz JP wrote: Well. I'm not going to agree with someone who obviously had (as we all sometimes do) a bad day in Court! And, just as I would never begin any sentence with the words "All defence lawyers are..." I rather think he is equally foolish to make broad-sweeping generalisations, not least because necessarily it will involve making errors of fact.


I agree. If the magistracy should be representative of those whom they sit in judgement of, then shouldn't the bar be more representative of those they represent. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Personally, I don't believe the magistracy should be representative of those they sit in judgement of. Considering the fact that most of them are criminals.

Maz JP wrote: I have myself noted that, as employers become less willing to allow their employees to take time out for their civic duties, and that this is resulting in magistrates becoming less diverse,


But I thought the government had made it clear that employers cannot deny their employees time off for being a part time magistrate.

Maz JP wrote:So, no, I wouldn't exactly say we were exceptionally slow : but conversations do allow for checks and balances, which is perhaps why the majority of successful appeals at Crown Courts come in cases that were previously adjudicated by DJ's, not magistrates

But those DJ's don't have the advantage of numbers when it comes to appealing magistrates decisions in the crown court. Don't 2 magistrates sit beside the judge? Don't they have an influence on the verdict?


Maz JP wrote:And I of course have fallen into your trap and been excessively defensive. Ho hum..


Think you might be slightly paranoid Maz if you think my intention was to set a trap.
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Re: Domestic Violence: How's this work?

Postby shootist » Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:05 am

Spankymonkey wrote:I agree. If the magistracy should be representative of those whom they sit in judgement of, then shouldn't the bar be more representative of those they represent. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Personally, I don't believe the magistracy should be representative of those they sit in judgement of. Considering the fact that most of them are criminals.


Makes sense.
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Re: Domestic Violence: How's this work?

Postby atticus » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:45 am

There are all sorts of things taking place to make the legal profession and judiciary more "diverse" in many respects: race, gender, social class, disabilities etc.
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Re: Domestic Violence: How's this work?

Postby Boo » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:26 am

Hairyloon wrote:Nor can I think of any means of collecting evidence to find out either way.


I'm part of a newly created small team in Booville who oversee, risk assess and monitor individuals and agencies involved in high risk serial domestic abuse perpetrator
and serial victim cases in my area.
When the report is published Hairy, I'll send you a link. ;)

I read the Secret Barrister article, then GOL (groaned out loud) when I saw probation had recommended the perpetrator attend the Building Better Relationships course. RAR days are also pointless as offenders don't have to complete all of the hours. If their order finishes and the hours haven't been completed, they just binned.

Given the amount of serial domestic abuse perpetrators who have undergone this course in my area - they are a complete waste of time. DSPs don't want to attend these courses or take part in group sessions. These courses are added to community sentences as a get out of jail free card.

Having previously worked with DSPs in former roles they have been openly dismissive of such programmes provided by Probation.
So if they are not wanting to engage - behaviours are not going to change.

However, I attended a presentation the other week given by Ippo Panteloudakis from Respect. http://respect.uk.net/
They work with the cause of the problem, the perpetrator.
They acknowledge, as I do, family mediation or group sessions are futile as perpetrators manipulate sessions.

But while we need to monitor the high risk cases - the under the radar cases are the ones most likely to end up in a Homicide Case Review.
There may have been a previous NFA or a safeguarding concern raised but then things go quiet until...

Locally, there seems to be a spike in elder domestic abuse. With many victims being elderly men.
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Re: Domestic Violence: How's this work?

Postby Hairyloon » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:39 am

Boo wrote:
Hairyloon wrote:Nor can I think of any means of collecting evidence to find out either way.


I'm part of a newly created small team in Booville who oversee, risk assess and monitor individuals and agencies involved in high risk serial domestic abuse perpetrator
and serial victim cases in my area.
When the report is published Hairy, I'll send you a link. ;)


Thank you, but how will that be looking at the relative rates of those who might have perpetrated but did not?
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Re: Domestic Violence: How's this work?

Postby Boo » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:58 am

Can you be more specific please?
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