Friday, 24 May 2013

Judge Judy For Real

People who know Mr P and I well realise that 6pm-7pm Monday to Friday is our chilling out time watching Judge Judy. Now thanks to the amazing technology available we can pause it whilst I get the dinner ready, or answer the phone etc. Well yesterday we were part of a real court situation. You may remember back in September 2012 we were involved in a road traffic accident and I wrote about it here. So we find ourselves approaching the magistrates court knowing we must be there because outside was blocked with people smoking.  Inside, like getting on a plane, bags searched and through the x ray machine before we can go anywhere. Up some stairs into this area of contrasting people. Lots of solicitors in their immaculate suits, some sitting looking almost as if they were going to a wedding and then others looking as if they've been to bed in their clothes. We find which courtroom our case is going to be heard and then we wait. Except we have to go and sit somewhere obscure because I recognised a lady from one of the mental health institutions I go to and had only just seen  her the previous day - oh heck!

10am arrives and we had already found out that our man was in the building but was negotiating with his solicitors so would not be heard first of all. So we went and sat in the public viewing area and listened to the cases. It was rather sad as there were so many cases where people with poor mental health and learning difficulties had done some daft things. It seemed crazy that they were ever bought to court but the magistrates were great and almost seem to have to act as social services and get things set up for them rather than punishing them. Later on whilst talking to an attorney they were saying very similar things. Have to say that both Mr P and I felt encouraged by what we were hearing and witnessing with the justice system. I could talk for ages about what we saw but you'd be in danger of falling asleep.

Anyway we know that the morning cases only go on to 12:00 and this time arrives and our case has not been heard yet and still more come in and I'm watching the time like a hawk as I have to go to work! Only booked the morning off. Then the inevitable happens and the court stops for lunch! Aaaargh - I'm not going to be able to see our case. The attorney comes to see us and has a talk about what might happen in the afternoon to his case. Our man had decided to plead guilty to two offenses and not guilty to one, hence the delay. So Mr P races me to work in order to get back in time for the afternoons hearing. At the hospital in between clients I am walking the corridors wondering what is going on. Mr P sends me a text to say he's still sitting in court 2. Then some of my clients do not turn up which is a common lot for a Friday afternoon (commonly known as the grave yard shift). Then my last client turns up early and I suddenly think I could perhaps get back to the court.

 So I race to the bus stop where within a minute of waiting the hospital hoppa bus arrives, amazingly the millions of traffic lights were on green (Leicester has the most traffic lights anywhere in the country) and I get off at the train station. Then I had a mile or so to walk. I walked faster than I have ever walked before even burst into a small run. Arrived at the court house where the guards where now taking it easy, they took one look at my large rucksack saw my NHS label and decided to just let me back in! I arrived just in time to hear our man say a few words and the magistrates to decide what to do with him. Mr P fills me in on what has happened. It seems that our man has lied. He said in his statement that he did stop and Mr P told him to "F off" twice. So he did. Also that he never hit us. Obviously he was made to look very stupid when there had been two witness statements telling a rather different story. How Mr P got up and did this would have been amazing as someone had to help him by getting the bike off him as he was unable to move and to this day still has scars on his legs because of this. During this time the afternoon attorney comes and shakes hands with me and fills me in too with what has happened. One of the magistrates on the bench in the afternoon was there in the morning and he smiled at me as I came back into court from work. You just knew they were all on our side.

After a very long wait we all stood up for the final time as the magistrates came back into court and our man had to remain standing to hear the verdict. They said because he had lied and made things worse for himself and due to the nature of our injuries he was banned from driving for six months and fined £300. He tried to argue that he had a family to support but it fell on deaf ears other than that he was given a dispensation to pay £50 a month till the balance was paid. He remained unremorseful whereas so many of the cases we had seen that day the people were remorseful, it was obvious but not with him. He was obviously stressed wondering what the outcome was going to be but that was it.

Mr P was ecstatic, not sure how he managed to contain this until we got back to the carpark but he did. For Mr P it was vindication.

Thank you justice system for being so fair.

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