Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Not goodbye......

This is not a goodbye post in the normal sense. I know that I have not posted on here for a while and that is becasue I have been working on a new and better blog. I am moving away from the simplisity of this blogspot and have opted for a more customisable wordpress blog. I eventually intend to make my own custon layout and really update it.

If you have added be to your blogroll then thank you. Please visit me over at http://greatthought.wordpress.com/ If you still like what you see then please feel free to update your blogroll and comment.

Anyone coming across this for the first time, "hello" and I hope to see you over at my now location.

So this is not goodbye, just farewell!

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

How to survive a long distance relationship!

Many people say that long distance relationships cannot work. Who hasn’t heard that a relationship while at University, for example, cannot last? In those few months leading up to that farewell I was told time after time, “Be prepared for it not to work out.” You almost set yourself up for a fall before you start. With everyone telling you that it won’t work you get to a point where you start to believe it.

Do not get disheartened, there is hope. If your love is strong you can make it through. Although it is hard you have a chance. The main difficulty is trust. Over that sort of distance you have to trust each other without question, and breach of that trust can lead to destruction. You have to be not only in love with the person but completely devoted to them mind, body and soul to survive the separation.

If one of you is not as dedicated as the other the distance will tear you apart. It is the everlasting test of love. Those who survive have a stronger relationship for it. SO, you may ask, how do you survive the most trying times you can face in your relationship? It’s not overly difficult, but I’ll give you some pointers.

1 - Take each day one at a time.

When you are apart it is easy to think about how many weeks or months you are going to spend away from each other. The trick is to concentrate on getting through each day. Although the time apart will still be the same, by splitting it into smaller chunks each part of that time is easier. You will notice after a while that the weeks have flown by.

2 - Keep busy.

Do something to keep yourself active. The less time you have not doing anything the easier it is to pass the days. Having other things to focus on keeps your mind away from being alone. Try joining the gym or taking up a hobby.

3 - Keep in contact.

Don’t go days without talking. Its easy to get caught up in the excitement of somewhere new but believe me, not talking to each other frequently can cause doubts. My partner and I talk everyday, and have done for most of the time we have been apart. Even if it is only for a few minutes a day it is enough for you to tell them that you love them and to make sure they are ok. The longer you go without talking the more paranoid you can end up getting.

4 - Make the most of time spent together.

One of the easiest things to make a long distance relationship work is to focus on doing things together. The more often you can get to see each other the better your time apart will seem. Months break up nicely if you see them every couple of weekends. Don’t waste those precious moments together, talk, hug, enjoy being with one another and remember why you are with them.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

My Week at Bristol CPS

Day one: Monday 29th October.

I started the week in the offices of the CPS. Apparently CPS lawyers only spend one full day a week in the office. Since the new rules on charging the CPS has moved out of the office and back out into the world. This was supposed to be a boring day from which most people get very little. I found today very interesting and found that although paperwork is a part of the life of a CPS lawyer it is not as big a part as you would imagine.

Looking through some case files and reading the police reports I realised how little law was involved in the process of conviction. The only law that was involved was to work out what offence the suspect should be charged with. Most of the process centred around witnesses and written reports of what happened. Very rarely did you need to know the law inside out to work out how likely a conviction would be.

One of the things I learnt was how the CPS decide to continue (or just start) a case. There are two criteria that need to be met for a case to continue/start. The two criteria are; the Evidential Test and the Public Interest Test. The Evidential test asks if there is sufficient evidence to have a “realistic chance of a conviction”, i.e. is the judge/jury more likely than not to convict. Only if this test is passed can it ever hope to be continued, without it there will not be a charge (or charges will be dropped). Once that test is passed the case has to pass the Public Interest test. As the CPS are acting for the public on behalf of the crown it is a matter of course that the public interest in the crime is considered. The CPS does not act for the victim even if it can seem that way. What a CPS lawyer need to do is weigh up the factors for and against prosecuting and decide on those grounds whether to continue.

One good thing I found out was that in domestic violence allegations the CPS are more likely than not to continue the case even when the “victim” has withdrawn support. This is because the needs of the public to have domestic violence punished outweighs the wants of the victim in most cases. Only in unusual circumstances or when evidence is lacking will a domestic violence action be dropped.

After today I am on my way to wanting this working environment for myself....

Day two: Tuesday 30th October.

Today was spent in Bath police station in the CPS charging office. This was a very interesting day although I could imagine how lonely and tedious this could become. Normally when in the charging office you would be sat on your own waiting for the police to bring you matters which needed your attention. At this point the test would be used to decide whether we should charge and therefore continue the case or release the suspect.

I found this day very informative as this was one aspect of the CPS which you do not hear very much about. I spent the day looking at evidence with the CPS lawyer and helping him to decide whether there was enough evidence for there to be a “realistic chance of conviction”.

This day included watching a couple of pieces of CCTV footage and helping the CPS lawyer to decide if the evidence would be strong enough. One of those videos it seemed unclear how likely it was that the facts pointed in the favour of the crown however after over 30min of analysis, which had been left to me, it seemed that the case was actually stronger that we had both originally thought.

I was also taken into the custody department of the police station to see where suspects were taken for interview and where they were held pending release on bail. Finally I saw someone being booked in and saw real law in action watching a suspect be made aware of his rights under PACE.

Overall a very enlightening day and one in which I learnt a lot in a short length of time and without doing very much.

Day three: Wednesday 31st October.

Today was spent in the Magistrates Court. A very useful experience but not very exciting. I spent a short time talking to an advocate for the crown and finding out a bit about how a normal day in the Magistrates Court usually goes.

It was a slow start and I realised that working for the crown meant staying in one court in front of the same panel of Magistrates for the entire day working through a pile of cases one by one. To cope with this sort of level of work you have to be well organised and balanced. Your mind has to be able to move quickly from one case to the next without getting lost or confused. A lot of cases the advocate I was with was doing she had only received that morning as they were overnight arrests which had to be dealt with fairly quickly.

I say that it was a slow start, that was really only once arriving at court. For the advocate her day had started at 7:45 with reading the case files with which she was going to be dealing.

One thing I noticed about the Magistrates Court was that everything had a very speedy feel to it and the cases seemed to want to go really quickly. Even the advocates seemed to be talking quickly, it was only the panel who seemed to take their time both while considering their decision and in delivering it to the court.

Day four: Thursday 1st November.

Today was spent with the trials unit at the CPS. This department deals with the cases going to the Crown Court. I spent part of the day in the court with a CPS barrister and the other part of the day in the office reading case files.

These case files differed from those in the Criminal Justice Unit as these were prepared for trial and so had different types of material in them but they were essentially the same. The offences covered ranged from simple assaults (ABH) through sexual offences and serious domestic violence cases up to weapons offences.

Day five: Friday 2nd November.

Today was my final day with the CPS and was one of high emotion. I spent the entire day in the Crown Court watching one of the CPS HCA's at work. I spent the day sat with a pupil with the CPS who was in her first 6mnths pupillage. She spent most of the day explaining what it was like training with the CPS and trying to convince me to take the BVC and then apply to the CPS for my pupillage. Not that I have any idea what it is I actually want to do still.

I could quite easily describe the Crown Court on a Friday as a cattle market. It never seemed to stop. Case after case was heard, it was all really short ad mainly applications for bail and/or applications to extend custody and/or application by the crown to change the indictment and/or pleas.

It was a really interesting week and although I left with even less of an idea of what I wanted to do it definitely gave me some “food for thought”.