21 days in jail or $210. How'd you plead?
Yesterday was my court appearance for my speeding offence in March
. Now whilst it is a complete waste of tax payers money that every traffic offence has to go to the Magistrates Court, I'd actually pay $210 every couple of weeks, if I could afford it, to go along and listen to some of the cases. It was flipping hilarious.
The Magistrates Court is a non-distinguishable building in Hamilton near the House of Parliament and Police HQ. In fact I met a bloke who used to work for our company beforehand. He got sacked from our place but is now a copper. I don't think he got sacked for nicking staplers or anything, so good luck to him and I hope it is him that stops me for speeding next time. For the record this time I was doing 57kph in a 35kph zone.
Anyway we were all shoved into a waiting room and the funniest thing was being joined by our HR Manager, who was done for no tax or insurance. Eventually people with surnames from A to M were told to go into the courtroom. Unfortunately neither C or A are my intials and I had to wait. Anyway my time came and I sat there and listened to the crimes and punishments. Most pleaded guilty and went off to pay the cashier handily placed outside Court No.3.
One woman meanwhile who was accused of giving false information to a member of the Bermuda Police Force said that she was only joking. "Do you often joke with members of the constabulary."
asked the Judge. "Yes, when they are my brother's friends m'lud."
Another chap, dressed in motor oil and sweat told the Judge that he was unable to accept the 5 demerit points as he never had a driving licence. This didn't seem to faze the Judge, who after some consideration waived the points but insisted that the $300 fine be paid within 7 days. Quite peculiar.
I was flummoxed by the amount of kids in court (you can ride a moped at 16), one young lad stood in the dock in his uniform complete with a prefect's badge and told the Judge he was speeding because his Mama had rung him at school to tell him his Grandmother had died and was 'racing' to get home. The Judge looked up, "sorry about your Grandmother,"
he paused. "Guilty, $300 fine."
I saw him outside smirking and got the impression Stephen Ireland
may have been his brief!
Then my time came. I stood, acknowledged my guilt, abolished the idea of explaining my haste, and walked away with a $210 fine and 5 demerit points, a system that no one I talk to understands.
The scary bit is that the Judge gives you an option when he declares your punishment of either a fine or jail time. Chicago Addick he didn't say, 21 days in prison or $210 and 5 demerit points. I was out to that Cashier as quick as a flash.