A senior magistrate has resigned after he was reprimanded for an act of charity.

A young asylum seeker was up before Nigel Allcoat at Leicester Magistrates Court in August after defaulting on a fine. Under new guidelines Allcoat was obliged to issue him with a £180 court charge, to be paid at £5 a week. The defendant pointed out that as he received just £35 a week on a pre-paid card and was banned from working he would probably default on this too. In response Allcoat rummaged around in his pocket and handed over £40 to the young man.

Daily Mail reading court staffed were unmoved by the magistrate's compassion and reported him. Allcoat was subsequently suspended and, after 16 years on the bench, has now resigned in disgust. He said "to be taken to task in such a way for what I considered a humanitarian act beggars belief. This man was in an impossible situation. Whatever way he turned he was in trouble, trapped by deplorable legislation."

    Buy this man a drink

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said “it is right convicted adult offenders who use our criminal courts should pay towards the cost of running them." And now that Michael Gove is in the top job any judge who shows an ounce of humanity will presumably be beaten like a non-compliant sex slave.

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Comments

Anonymous 02 October 15 08:54

Whatever other principles are supposedly in play, the principles this guy displayed surely trump them. Top fella.

Roll On Friday 02 October 15 10:14

The CCF is an absolute joke. They turn and 80 quid fine into a £300 total bill in no time.

80 quid fine
20 quid "victim surcharge", 85 quid "costs", 150 quid "CCF"

They've given the job of collecting it to that Yank firm who cocked up CSA recovery too.

Total shambles and a chilling effect on justice - plead guilty or risk paying a £1000 CCF if you lose at trial.

Anonymous 02 October 15 11:11

The status of asylum seekers in this country is truly Kafka-esque. Almost to a man they want to stay and work, but cannot even though there is low paid work which the sensitive souls of this country find too taxing. If economic incentives and disincentives work (and they do) then asylum seekers are incentivised to commit economic crime to afford things you and I take for granted. It is totally absurd.

Anonymous 02 October 15 16:14

I don't practice criminal law but I've always been baffled by the idea of imposing a"victim surcharge" where there is no obvious "victim" ( apart from the State, which is imposing both the fine and the victim surcharge). Wouldn't it be more honest just to increase the fine? When legislators and therefore the Courts (do they have any discretion in the matter?) start behaving like car clampers, the whole system becomes discredited.

As angry as he rightly is, the only person who emerges from this with any credit is Mr Allcoat - and now a decent man has resigned.

Anonymous 10 October 15 01:23

We have mandatory victim surcharges in Canada. Previously, a judge could find the accused didn't have the means to pay, and not impose it. Utterly stupid system now that it's mandatory, because it's $100 per count for summary matters, and $200 for indictable, but costs a lot more than that per diem to jail someone for failing to pay. (Judges often get round it by making it payable forthwith and then making the default time concurrent with the actual sentence.)