That's all that really needs to be said, but it has made me wonder once more about our court system.
In the past I have expressed sarcastic thoughts about the courts on this blog. This was very wrong of me. In fact, I love my court warnings and cherish them. Without them, I would have no break from my unceasing cycle of nights, nights, lates, earlies and nights again, and would have to book annual leave to get time off.
Instead, every two or three weeks I have a day out. The average court warning usually falls on a rest day and appears in my inbox during a weekend off, to be read just a couple of days before the court date. This makes for double pay. If I do happen to see it over five days before the court date, I quickly make a call to IT services claiming that my email has gone down, I have forgotten my password, or that my eyes were blown out in a bomb and I need to have all my court warnings sent to me on tape. This ensures that I am never warned more than a few days before court.
Then comes the happy day. I roll out of bed at 8 or 9, have a leisurely breakfast. Sometimes I even get to iron a shirt. Then comes the first voicemail check. If that is clear, I begin to stroll towards the court. Very often the phonecall telling me that the case has been cancelled will strike just as I enter the court building. If not, I order a few cups of tea from the Witness Service and watch a couple of lawyers running about for an hour or so. I might read a gossip magazine if I feel like it, and find that the woman who wouldn't give me a statement last year has sold her story of domestic violence to "Talk!" and has now murdered the bastard.
At about eleven o'clock comes the first visit from the CPS. "Is the victim coming?" "Where's the transcript of the interview?" "Was there CCTV or not?"
I have no idea, being just the dogsbody who arrested the guy and handed over a pile of paper to someone else. The officer who actually knows these details has not been asked to show up and is sunning him/herself in the Carribbean with his/her phone switched off. After another hour, the Magistrate or District Judge gets fed up and bins the job and I am sent home with apologies and a feeling that it is somehow once again the police's fault.
In the unlikely event that all witnesses turn up and the CPS haven't lost part of the file, the eleven o'clock visit will follow the lines of, "He might be about to change his plea." This is because the defence barrister has realised that time has run out and his client is about to be found guilty by irrefutable evidence that they have known about for six months. A plea bargain is agreed by twelve and once again I can go home. This time everyone is happy, including the defendant.
About once a year I end up sitting at court all day only to be told at about 4pm that there is no time to hold the trial. Or that the guy pled guilty at 10am and no one bothered to tell me. Even so, it is still 6 hours work for 8 hours double time, so who's complaining.
God Bless Court Warnings.
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