As chairman of the South Lincolnshire Bench I felt I should respond to the letter from JS ‘Justice is not being done’ at Grantham Magistrates’ Court (Journal, November 30).
I am pleased that the Grantham Journal publishes court results - it is important that members of the public are aware of the sentences we impose. Brief reports, however, do not always reflect all the details of the cases the court hears. Magistrates follow guidelines that are given by the Sentencing Council that apply nationally - where courts depart from these they give reasons for doing so. The court takes account of factors which make an offence more or less serious including the victims perspective (if known) and also take account of an offender’s personal circumstances and these are then announced in open court when sentencing happens.
Myself and many of my colleagues on the Bench have been victims of crime, some of them serious, and I can assure your readers that we live squarely within the “real” world. However, we put any bias aside when dealing with offenders “without fear or favour, affection or ill will” as our judicial oath compels us to do.
The courts are open to members of the public at any time. I would encourage JS, and any of your readers, to come and watch. While people will always hold different views as to appropriate sentences in individual cases, I believe most would agree that the sentences we impose not only follow the guidelines I have mentioned but are also appropriate in all the circumstances of each individual case.
Mr K. Moody
Chairman, South Lincolnshire Magistrates Bench