My day in Court was not as I’d planned as I hadn’t planned on being in Court at all.
I was all of 15 years of age, accompanied by my father, sitting in front of Magistrate Bishop – funny they always have those beyond reproach names or at least that’s what I thought at the time.
My crime was riding a 50 cc, yes 50 not 500, on the footpath next to a railway line in leafy Brighton. Seems a couple of grumpy residents got jack of innocent boys riding their machine and actually enjoying themselves in their suburb. So, they called in the police.
The Police turned up and we turned green with concern. The subsequent charge issued was riding an unlicensed motorcycle on a public road. That charge ballooned by the fact I was carrying a pillion passenger in young John without a helmet. It had been raining and whilst we didn’t have helmets, we did have an umbrella to cover our heads. That was the excuse anyway.
I was a little staggered the matter required charges being laid at all as the motorcycle really was a step up from a pushbike, the kind the postie uses.
Fast forward 3 months and we were sitting in front of Bishop. I of course was dressed in my school uniform looking like butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth. We couldn’t measure what sort of penalty would be awarded as the magistrate gave nothing away.
His Mag opened our case with the comment “does the accused have anything to say for himself?” Internally I was thinking yes, you can all go and get stuffed, yet looking at the magistrate who had a face which had transformed into solid rock, I pulled my head in. My father in fact elected to speak first. “Your Magistrate my son was involved in an accident whilst riding on a private property and the motorcycle has been disposed of. He has learnt a lesson which will not be repeated”.
“Is that right boy” quizzed the magistrate? I could feel a slight wetting sensation around my groin area. “Yes sir” I said. “Then 12 months good behaviour bond is my sentence – you’re free to go yet don’t be back here.”
And I did not buy a motorcycle ever again.