As J.P.s when adjudicating on a trial we are appointed to determine fact and to rely upon the legal advisor for ensuring that all our actions are appropriate and lawful. In general I have found that although our legal advisors vary in their personalities and to a lesser degree in their overall competences very rarely has their advice been in error…..”very rarely: yes” but “never? No”.
In this case from “Crimeline” it seems apparent that the critical decision would almost certainly have been made following advice from the legal advisor and the legal basis for such advice would unlikely have been known by the bench. However, it is invariably the case that some colleagues will be better versed in the law or parts of it than others and should the occasion arise no legal advisor worth his/her salt would put down a magistrate for offering a contrary opinion and no colleague should be dissuaded from offering that opinion if the situation occurs.