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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 03:09 
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By Kieth Peat :
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Chief Clerk, Grimsby Magistrates Court, Victoria Street, Grimsby Lincolnshire, England DN31 1NH - DX 707680 Grimsby 5 - 4th January 2011

Dear Sir,

In the case of Michael Thompson: Obstructing an officer in the execution of her duty

This case has aroused some considerable media interest and has been brought to my attention.

I understand that Mr Thompson defended himself, never the less he should be entitled to the best information available to the courts.

I enclose a copy of an appeal DPP v Glendinning 2005 where it was held the police would need to prove that the warned drivers were speeding or would have been speeding at the camera site. Had this been established in this case? If not then the case should have been dismissed.

Also I surveyed this particular Speed Limit Order as an ex patrol police officer and was so concerned that this new stretch of 30 MPH had all the ingredients of an ‘entrapment stretch’ where drivers, driving to the conditions and layout would inadvertently speed, I noted it and reported my fears to the Local Authority and asked that in view of that, police should not take advantage of this as a favoured camera spot. I am therefore appalled that this is now exactly what seems to be happening. A classic example of a bad order creating offenders from safe drivers. I would have been happy to tell the court that when it was considering this case.

I would be very pleased if you could forward my information to Mr Thompson and the magistrates in the case.

Best wishes Keith Peat, Association of British Drivers

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 14:53 
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An interesting comment from Grumpy Old Sod.

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The police have received information that an elderly person's house will be burgled during the night. They place officers in the area to wait for the intruders. As the intruders approach, wearing masks, stripey sweaters and carrying bags marked "SWAG," a local youth, realising the situation, shouts out "Run for it! Coppers!" The intruders, identities unknown, flee, no doubt to try again at another time, another place. So, now how do we all feel about obstructing the police? I think all this discussion is about is picking and choosing whether an offence is popular law or not. In either situation, the police have been deliberately obstructed in their duty, which is itself an offence.


The key phrase here, IMO is "no doubt to try again". This is unknown and speculation. In each case possible commission of offences has been stopped which is surely the one of the purposes of the police. Their role is not just to nick people. If a policeman walking down a street prevents a mugging by his presence could he be said to be obstructing one of his colleagues from arresting the mugger?

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 18:07 
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Didn't stop me warning other drivers of a camera van hidden in the bushes today :D

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 19:04 
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When I switched on the radio this morning I caught the tail-end of a discussion about this. (Radio 2)
I heard Richard Madeley say something to the effect of, "If I'm in the newsagents and I warn people in the shop to be careful as I'd passed a speed trap down the road, am I guilty of obstructing justice?"
I don't know if those were his sentiments or if that's his exact wording, but that's how I remember it.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 20:10 
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The GOS analogy is specious, the case is more analogous to Neighborhood Watch signs on lampposts than anyone aiding someone they know to be breaking the law in evading detection.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 21:12 
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malcolmw wrote:
An interesting comment from Grumpy Old Sod.


I'm very surprised about that, as the GOS has always been 'on-side', and very anti-camera.

Do you have a link?

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 22:12 
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Pete317 wrote:
malcolmw wrote:
An interesting comment from Grumpy Old Sod.


I'm very surprised about that, as the GOS has always been 'on-side', and very anti-camera.

Do you have a link?


Looks like it is simply a comment in the Guest Book by a person called "PT" - see entry number 1665 at Captain Grumpy's Guest Book

mb


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 15:32 
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RobinXe wrote:
I am sad to say that I am unsurprised that the magitrates convicted; of those I know, precious few are capable of critical thought, even fewer are inclined to apply it to a case presented by the prosecution, and I'm not sure if more than one or two are even aware of the concept of presumption of innocence.

For those interested in a more balanced view of magistrates, each year something in the region of 1.3 to 1.4 MILLION cases are heard. That figure applies to a few years ago, it has reduced in recent years as so many people have been given the power to issue penalties.

An appeal is a complete new hearing at which new evidence can be presented, so it is not really possible to assume that an appeal which is upheld represents a mistake by the magistrates court that heard the case. I only have access at the moment to appeals statistics for 2005 to set against the 1.3 to 1.4 million cases heard per year at that time.

appeals allowed in full = 3,651
appeals allowed in part = 1,886
appeals dismissed = 3,791
appeal abandoned = 3,477

If my calculations are correct the appeals allowed in full or part amount, together, to about 0.4% of all cases.

Those figures are too high for comfort but clearly show that the picture presented by RobinXe is not accurate of magistrates as a group. I certainly don't recognise the features Robin comments on and I see a lot of magistrates at work. Including in the private discussions in the retiring room.

Robin, I strongly recommend that you report the magistrates you know to the local advisory committee as soon as possible so that they can be removed from office. You will, of course, need to be willing to provide proof and possibly give evidence to back up your assertions.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 18:12 
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There's the massive bite I was anticipating! :D

You have your expeiences and I have mine, which is the experience I describe, based mainly on my time working in the Magistrates Court, and partially through a handful of magistrates I know personally.

You say that an upheld appeal does not reflect poorly on the magistrates, and then go on to tout how the low proportion of appeals reflects well, whilst neglecting the fact that an appeal is a major undertaking, even were there a guarantee of winning, in the face of a minor punishment, therefore these damned lies and statistics really prove nothing.

I would enquire whether you have any comment to make on the case at hand, when you are done closing ranks?

Incidentally I count you amongst the one or two mentioned.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 19:08 
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RobinXe wrote:
which is the experience I describe, based mainly on my time working in the Magistrates Court,
The only work in the magistrates courts system which would give the knowledge you claim would be that of a court clerk. So that people reading this can get an idea of how much experience you have - for how long after qualifying as a solicitor or barrister did you work as a court clerk?

RobinXe wrote:
You say that an upheld appeal does not reflect poorly on the magistrates, and then go on to tout how the low proportion of appeals reflects well,
What I actually said is that, as new evidence may have been put forward, it is not possible to assume that successful appeals prove a mistake was made lower down the system. To be clear about the matter, I accept that some will be due to mistakes. As is the case when crown court decisions are overturned in a higher court.


RobinXe wrote:
therefore these damned lies and statistics really prove nothing.
I see. My figures based on official returns from all of England and Wales mean nothing. Your opinion based on your personal experience and the one or two magistrates you know proves that I am wrong.


RobinXe wrote:
I would enquire whether you have any comment to make on the case at hand, when you are done closing ranks?
I wasn't there and so do not know what evidence was put forward. Any comment made about a specific case based solely on media reports would be unreliable.


RobinXe wrote:
Incidentally I count you amongst the one or two mentioned.
For the benefit of those who may think your opinion of me is based on actually knowing me, I should point out that we have never met. Not what most people would say amounted to "knowing personally".

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 01:28 
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Nice selective responding, dodging around the main contention of the low appeal rate.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 02:46 
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The appeal fund here,

http://www.godfreybloommep.co.uk/
The Michael Thompson Appeal

Michael Thompson, 64, from Grimsby was fined for flashing drivers with his headlights to warn motorists of a police speed trap.

He was fined £175 and ordered to pay £250 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

An appeal has been lodged with the Crown Court, the Crown Prosecution Services and the Clerk to Justices at Grimsby Magistrates Court. A pre-trial review/hearing date is yet to be set.

Godfrey Bloom, outraged by this news offered to help Mr Thompson fight his appeal. He has set up an appeal fund and has hired top Barristers and Solicitors to defend and help with Mr Thompson’s case.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 07:49 
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RobinXe wrote:
Nice selective responding, dodging around the main contention of the low appeal rate.
Can you give any more info on the cases that have clearly left you concerned ? It perhaps needs it's own thread but perhaps this needs delving into.
I know that Fisherman only ever tries to show things 'as they are' from the legal perspective. Which can seem 'clinical' to some but are 'as they are', as it were.
Now I know first hand just how tough it can be when tackling Courts, and trying to defend yourself (Inheritance issues) and how extremely stressful this can be for the 'man in the street' not to say the costs, time taken and the stress and worry!
I get the impression that you must too have some experience of this and it would be interesting to comprehend more about what issues arose.
I know that a solicitor behaved completely incorrectly, having the barrister embarrassed, in front of a snr high Court Judge that resulted in costing me £2.5K ! It was disgraceful. I know another that too landed me with more additional costs, and even took authority from a non client - 'on my behalf', - and yes I did try to do what we could to have them 'reported', but it failed due to lack of funds / time which was utterly frustrating. But I understood the Court when we got landed with Costs, they have a rule' and they can only 'judge' by that, and so you can be the victim of that rule-book, and even if the judge finds it wrong too - they cannot 'make those types of exceptions', it has to be 'corrected' elsewhere, which can (wrongly) cost the 'victim' (now) more money and that is unfair, but it is a system that tries overall to be largely 'just' for most.
So could this sort of 'injustice' happened to your or those you know ?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 08:00 
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No, not to me or anyone I know well, I have just worked in the magistrates' court system, and know other magistrates personally, as I said.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:29 
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SafeSpeedv2 wrote:
I know that Fisherman only ever tries to show things 'as they are' from the legal perspective. Which can seem 'clinical' to some but are 'as they are', as it were.

Thank you for that, it sums up (to coin a phrase!) why I post here.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 19:48 
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There's an IAM poll on the subject here:

http://www.iam.org.uk/iam_polls/


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 01:26 
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Can't make that link work at all. :scratchchin:

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