4 August 2012

Do as I say.........

The publication of the list of Old Guard whiners contained no real surprises. Pat Mountain, ex-cllr and incorrigible letter writer to The Telegraph, was in there but another name caught my eye, that of a 'Sqdn Ldr Peter Richardson'. I can't claim to know anything about this person but some research suggests that this individual is also referred to as 'Capt Peter Richardson JP' and it was the use of the abbreviation 'JP' that took my attention. I assumed that the abbreviation 'JP' stood for 'Justice of the Peace' or 'Magistrate' and some research at the High Court in the Strand and at the Magistrates Association has confirmed that, indeed, Sqdn Ldr or Capt Peter Richardson is a sitting Magistrate or JP.

Now what exactly does this say about the belief system of this particular magistrate? The External Auditor's Report was quite explicit in its description of 'unlawful expenditure', 'abuse of public funds' and 'acting without authority' yet, as far as I know, Richardson JP hasn't made any comment about the activities of the Keenan/Canvin administration. Like his whining colleague, Mountain, he seems happy to take unfounded pot-shots at Cllr Fraser-Hopewell but suffers from 'selective inattention' when it comes to his friends in the 'Old Guard'.

And this brings me to a subject which has troubled me over the last few months. What message does this sort of behaviour send to the wider community? Mountain writes to the Telegraph that  retribution and restitution have been forgotten when considering sentencing. Yet Mountain says nothing about the wrong-doing of his chums as described in the External Auditor's Report. Now, it seems, we have a sitting magistrate willing involving themselves in an unfounded attack on a local Cllr whilst, at the same time, being unwilling to similarly attack his friends who were so comprehensively condemned by the External Auditor's Report.

It is very worrying to consider what might happen were, for example, I to end up in front of Richardson's magistrates bench. Would I get a fair hearing from that particular magistrate? I very much doubt it, but what would happen were, say, Tony Canvin to end up appearing in the same place? What sort of treatment would one of Richardson's acquaintances get?

This sort of inconsistent behaviour is exactly the reason that the younger generation grows up confused. Everyone needs boundaries and the clearer the boundaries, the better. But Somerton has one particular and vocal group who take it upon themselves to decide which parts of the law apply and, importantly, they also decide to whom those parts do and don't apply.

Is that the sort of example that we need to set for the younger generation? 'Do as I say, not do as I do' isn't a recipe for a lawful society and I would have thought that a Magistrate would know that.

Till next time, I'm still Niall Connolly