Today was a full day at court with both sittings in what is known as a ‘Gap’ court. This indicates that all the cases anticipate a guilty plea. My cough held off to allow me to chair he court with two excellent wingers. A sizeable proportion of the morning cases involved driving with excess alcohol in the body. Many of our ‘clients’ are surprised, first that the half pint of weak beer took them well over the limit and second that the police just happened to be around on the one occasion they got into the car to move it a few yards.
The other regular contributor to our court business is the habitual shoplifter, although most do not try to walk out with a basket full of wholesome food, rather with spirits, razor blades or raw meat secreted about their person. I have known defendants appear before me charged with secreting frozen steaks in their briefs – or that was what their briefs claimed. In the afternoon I had the pleasure of sitting with my friend who was once the country’s youngest magistrate and under my mentoring care. It was a real pleasure to watch him chair a full court with confidence and experience.
The drive home was hampered by a road closure on my route home. A burst water main had made the road collapse, closing it totally. The alternative routes were bursting with traffic and a ten minute journey took four time that long. As always we had the usual clever drivers who would hurtle down a closed lane and then expect to barge in to the open lane at the very last moment. Of course, being the most polite nation of motorists in the world we let them do this again and again.