Out in the Field with chief reporter Annemarie Field: Magistrates and judges... some of their decisions seem bonkers

WHAT is wrong with the courts and our judicial system? I struggle sometimes to work out what planet some magistrates and judges are on.

I realise their hands are tied with legislation and magistrates rely on advice from their clerks, but some of their decisions seem bonkers.

Earlier this year a former headmaster escaped a jail sentence for downloading images of three- year-olds being sexually abused. This wasn’t an inadvertent slip of his hand on the mouse. He downloaded more than 400 images of defenceless children suffering and hid them in his garage.

So what happened to him? A spell behind bars with all the other Section 45 prisoners who are segregated for their own safety? Nope, he was given a suspended prison sentence and told not to do it again. Outrageous.

I am sure there are some cultures in an uncivilised world where they are forcibly castrated and you can’t help but think they have the right idea.

This week somebody appeared in court for yet another drink driving offence in a short space of time. The first time the person was given a curfew and banned from driving. The second occasion they were again way over the limit, given community service and told not to do it again. Where is the deterrent in that?

Let’s just hope next time that person gets behind the wheel worse for wear, they don’t run over a child. It’s frustrating for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service who work so hard to bring offenders to court when these people are given a slap on the wrist.You can almost - almost - understand why people take the law into their own hands sometimes.


MY MOTHER (God rest her soul) had many sayings and I realise I’m starting to sound exactly like her. Take the other day when I was talking about the upcoming Eastbourne Borough Council elections to a group of girlfriends. They started to switch off, said all politicians were as bad as each other, “couldn’t trust em as far as they could throw em” and they wouldn’t be voting. I was horrified. They’re quick to criticise the council and its decisions but don’t vote?

I know people find elections tedious but I told them if they want a say in how our town is run they should be heading to the ballot box.

And then my mother’s words came out of my mouth before I knew it: “Women chained themselves to railings so that you could have vote my girl, so you get down to the polling station and put a tick in that box!”.

I promise I won’t bang on about the elections anymore but please vote. It IS important.....