Jesus said, ‘Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.’ (Luke 6:36-38)
I was sitting in Mansfield Court one day, in support of a friend who, rightly, thought he may not be able to drive home after his day in court. And day in court it was. There seemed to be no schedule of when the various cases were to be heard. It was a matter of turning up at the beginning of the day and being ready when called upon. This meant that we got to hear all the cases that were heard before our particular case was dealt with. It was a sad procession of minor driving and drug offences.
One case stands out for me. It was a driving offence, and guilt had been determined. The discussion now was about the appropriate penalty. The defence lawyer was armed with a letter from the offender’s employer stating that if his worker lost his driver’s license he would have to fire him – he could not do his job without a driver’s license. ‘So,’ said the magistrate, ‘this employer wants the court to be more compassionate than he himself is prepared to be?’
‘The measure you give will be the measure you receive.’
[And for the petrol-heads: My friend was convicted of exceeding 130 km/h in his Datsun 180B, the lamentable successor to the innovative Datsun 1600. The magistrate asked, ‘Do they go that fast?’]